Friday, June 24, 2011

Cherokee Street

The redrawing of ward boundaries has created new opportunities for Cherokee. Cherokee will soon become the dividing line for much of the southern boundary of the 9th Ward and the northern boundary of the 20th Ward. Previously, it was difficult to tell which ward was which, as both wards shared a sawtoothed connection, criss-crossing back and forth across both sides of Cherokee.

With Cherokee Street now serving as the seam connecting two wards, the opportunity is prime to create a unified strategy across ward boundaries for the future of the area. Speaking recently with a property owner in the area, I was told that as far as he knew, there is no "Cherokee Street Plan". His impression is that development decisions are made on a case by casis, with some decisions governed by individual ward policies.

As the street is about to be more evenly shared by both the 9th and 20th Wards, is there a possibility that development and business policies would differ from one side of the street to the other? If so, that would create confusion for people interested in investing. We need our city neighborhoods to be sensitive to the concerns of existing residents and businesses, but also a welcoming place for new people and businesses to want to locate.

If you know of official plans or guidelines governing development or businesses activity in the area, please share the information in the comment section below. It would be especially helpful to hear from representatives of the Cherokee Street Business Association.

Friday, June 10, 2011

South County Connector Alignments Released for Public Comment

Five options considered:

Laclede Station Road Corridor
Shrewsbury Avenue Corridor
River Des Peres Boulevard Extension Corridor
South Outer Road Corridor
Local Roads Corridor

Maps of each are posted along with an analysis of the pros and cons of each alternative.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Free Screening of Pruitt-Igoe Documentary June 13 at Fontbonne

Reviews of this film have been excellent. If you haven't seen it, here's a chance to catch it in STL.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Targeted Home Repair Fund Would Create Jobs, Help Neighborhoods

A source of accessible, affordable, home improvement financing in St. Louis could mean great things for the revitalization of St. Louis neighborhoods.

Loans from $25,000 - $50,000 would go a long way towards building a strategy for preservation and improvement of the city's historic homes and neighborhoods.

Targeting the investment at homes at least fifty years would help in a lot of ways:

** Older homes are the ones in the greatest need of updating and repairs

** Most of the city's original housing stock would qualify

** More, smaller projects would be happen

** Small businesses would create jobs

** Homeowners would be able to target improvements

** Smaller projects with less government involvement are attractive to homeowners

** Neighborhood improvement efforts would expand across the city

** Financing would be available to households in a wide range of incomes, strengthening economic diversity

The challenge is to structure the program with competitive terms attractive to both homeowners and lenders.

In the past, gaming revenue has been used for this purpose. In today's tight economic climate, with government revenues shrinking, public funding for such an effort is difficult to obtain.

But the need is there. Inquiries for such loans are common, but resources are scarce. Perhaps starting small, and building up over time is a way to create such an initiative?