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Historic Lewis Place neighborhood to receive $1M in storm aid

The historic entrance arch to the Lewis Place neighborhood, which will receive state aid nearly a year after a tornado damaged 91 homes in the area.
Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio
Lewis Place entry arch, designed in 1890

St. Louis is freeing up $1 million dollars to fund repairs to a historic north side neighborhood damaged in last year’s New Years Eve tornado.

The storm damage in St. Louis was not enough to qualify for federal disaster aid.

City officials announced on Monday that uninsured property owners on Lewis Place could qualify for up to $30,000 for repairs.

The storm damaged roughly 150 buildings on Lewis Place, a site know for its lush green median and historic footnote in St. Louis’ Civil Rights struggle.

Michael Allen is the director of the Preservation Research Office.  He recalled how Richard Lane, an African American doctor tried to purchase property on Lewis Place in1943.

“A house built for a very wealthy white family became the first volley in breaking down restrictive covenants all over the city really saving north St. Louis, saving the city, allowing housing to be open and free to all,” said Allen.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says the city is using money from a “Major Initiative Fund” that had been set aside to fund economic development on the north side.

“So, we’re making a policy decision here that we have a disaster situation with people who need help right now and we’re going to use the money for that and hopefully replenish this fund in the future,” said Slay.

Applications for funding will be available through the city’s Community Development Administration.

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