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Community

Zack and Brie Smithey's railroad-shipping container home on Elm Street in St. Charles will be painted taupe and include glass windows across the front.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles City Council defeated a proposal Tuesday night that would have banned residents from building shipping-container houses in areas with only brick and siding homes.

But that's not the end of the controversy.

At the center of the flap is a home under construction on Elm Street. St. Charles residents Zack and Brie Smithey are building their 3,000-square-foot house out of eight railroad shipping containers.

Zack and Brie Smithey in front of their shipping-container home under construction in July 2016
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with St. Charles City Council vote July 6, 2016, 12:51pm - An unusual house made of railroad-shipping containers is going up on Elm Street in St. Charles. But if city officials have their way, the nearly-finished place could be the last of its kind in the city’s traditional neighborhoods.

St. Charles residents Zack and Brie Smithey began working on their two-story home in May. Their house is being made from eight red containers, doubled stacked and four across. It sits on a sloping lot between a split-level and a ranch.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“As St. Louisans we totally don’t know our own city,” said Mike, a caller during Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air” program. He often comes across out-of-town visitors who are “agog” at the architecture they can find here…and that’s not even off the beaten path.

I Am EStL

Charmaine Savage spent years away from her hometown of East St. Louis as an officer in the U.S. Navy. After living away with her husband Lorenzo, also from East St. Louis, in places like Virginia, San Diego, Tennessee and even Iraq, she returned to the area after retiring following several battles with cancer.

Savage said that she and her husband, who she met at Lincoln High School, had always wanted to return. Over the years, she had continually heard bad publicity about her hometown. She knew she wanted to combat that.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“How do you define development?” questioned Richard Baron, the Chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based for-profit community developer McCormack Baron Salazar, on Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air.”

Terrell Carter is pastor of the mostly-white Webster Groves Baptist Church
Terrell Carter / Courtesy Photo

Since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the subsequent community unrest, dialogue about racial division in the St. Louis area became a frequent topic. Additionally, many people vowed to come together and address the apparent ‘invisible line’ separating black and white residents in the region.

Youth In Old North Organize To Fix Parks

Jan 14, 2015
Old North
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Torn up nets, fading court lines, unkempt baseball fields, smashed slides, broken pavement, crumbling swing sets and a clogged sprinkler filled with trash and dead animals … these are just some of the problems facing a pair of parks in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis. Problems area children are campaigning to fix. 

The Youth Council of Old North held a meeting Tuesday evening to campaign for the city to fix Strodtman and Jackson parks. The council, which is made up of young men from the neighborhood, was established this fall.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This week, the Beacon has been hosting open mics in four areas that have been getting help in identifying how arts can help them and that may get further aid through the Kresge Foundation.

These events have come at the end of a series of meetings in and exploration of Old North, Midtown, the Garden District and an expanded Loop done under the auspices of the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation with support from Arts & Education Council and Regional Arts Commission. The goal is to build collaboration and develop ideas from within neighborhoods rather than bringing in outside organizations to plan.