North St. Louis | St. Louis Public Radio

North St. Louis

Provided on 07/18/19
St. Louis Development Corporation

St. Louis development officials are taking public comments as they plan the first of many projects around the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s future western headquarters on the near north side. 

The initial projects will involve road and pedestrian improvements along Jefferson Avenue and Parnell Street and will cost $25-$30 million. 

It’s the first step toward improving accessibility in the area — something St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Otis Williams said the city promised the NGA.

St. Louisan De Nichols will spend a year at Harvard University looking at how to enhance and sustain the Griot Museum of Black History.
Provided | De Nichols

Five years after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black man, there is no permanent, local display of the art sparked by the protests. 

Designer and activist De Nichols wants to change that. Through a Harvard University fellowship, she will study how to transform the Griot Museum of Black History in north St. Louis into such a space.

Nichols is known for the sculpture the Mirror Casket, a reflective casket-shaped piece she created with six other artists. It won such acclaim that it is now exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 

The restaurant contest provided two years free rent, along with a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas and a ventilation system.
Good Life Growing

A St. Louis urban farming operation is getting ready to open a grocery store and takeout place across from Crown Candy Kitchen later this month, nearly two years after winning a startup contest.

In August 2017, Good Life Growing won the competition with an idea to offer locally grown produce and takeout meals at a new enterprise, Old North Provisions.

But construction and marketing challenges delayed the opening at 2720 N. 14th St., now planned for late June. The experience has been more complicated than the “if you build it, they will come” mindset that many contestants had, according to co-founder James Forbes.

Eric Wiliams carries a crate of lettuce from the community garden at local nonprofit A Red Circle. The nonprofit is starting a farmers market in Riverview.
Erica Williams | Provided

When several Shop ‘N Save grocery stores closed last year in north St. Louis, residents in some neighborhoods were left without easy access to healthy produce.

A local nonprofit organization, A Red Circle, aims to fill the void with a monthly community farmers market that does more than just sell fresh food.

“It’s going to be a very cool farmers market with a purpose,” Red Circle founder and CEO Erica Williams said.

Cenya Davis puffs on her inhaler earlier this month. The 8-year-old student at Gateway Elementary School in St. Louis has been to the hospital three times for breathing trouble starting in December. She now regularly uses the inhaler.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A Washington University study has shown that more than a dozen north St. Louis neighborhoods have high rates of childhood asthma. 

The study, soon to be published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, identified five ZIP codes in St. Louis that are hot spots for childhood asthma, meaning that they contain clusters for the city's highest rates of the illness. The report used census and health data from multiple government agencies.

The rate of hospitalizations for childhood asthma for those ZIP codes, which include downtown St. Louis, Baden and North Riverfront neighborhoods, are five times that of two ZIP codes in southwest St. Louis, which have the lowest presence of the illness.

Yeyo Arts Collective uses its space for art classes and performance events as seen in this 2012 photo at its former space at 2700 Locust Ave.
Dail Chambers

For eight years, Yeyo Arts Collective has struggled to stay afloat. Now the organization is raising money to buy a building to sustain itself, and better serve its clients.

Since it opened, Yeyo has rented spaces in the midtown area and south St. Louis. Early next year, the nonprofit plans to purchase and renovate a house in The Greater Ville neighborhood in north St. Louis to use as its base. Eliminating rent payments will help Yeyo work with people who can’t afford to pay for classes, according to founder Dail Chambers.

Physician Sonny Saggar, left, nurse practitioner Michael Zappulla discuss the day's plans at North City Urgent Care, one of two urgent care clinics in north St. Louis.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the only urgent-care centers on St. Louis’ medically underserved north side is in danger of closing if it doesn’t receive more patients.

North City Urgent Care opened five years ago near North Skinker Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Since then, the center hasn’t posted a profit, owner Sonny Saggar said.

Although there are only two urgent-care clinics in north St. Louis, patient volume is low, Saggar said. On a typical day, there is only a handful of patients — far fewer than the 25 patients a day needed to turn a profit, he said.

“It’s a double-edged sword to have no competition on the north side but also limited awareness,” Saggar said. “I don’t think it’s because there’s not enough people; I think it’s because they’re not aware.”

Mayor Lyda Krewson stands with community members at the announcement for the 2018 Clean Up campaign.  The program will kick off this month and will aim at cleaning up four neighborhoods in St. Louis.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

A volunteer effort to clean up north St. Louis neighborhoods is getting a big lift from local construction companies.

Better Family Life began the “Clean Sweep” program last summer to help pick up trash and help revitalize certain areas in the city and St. Louis County. The non-profit and the Regional Business Council announced on Tuesday this summer’s effort will include a dozen construction companies to knock down vacant buildings and pick up large debris.

Hip-hop artists perform during a Story Stitchers event called Make Music on the Loop, June 2017.
The Sheldon

An exhibit at the Sheldon Art Gallery will display videos and photos of young St. Louisans working through their experiences with gun violence.

“Pick the City UP” is a presentation of the Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective. The exhibit, which opens Friday, documents work from the past several years.

Susan Colangelo and several other artists founded the nonprofit in 2013 with the idea to tell stories through embroidery. Now, the work encompasses written and spoken word, including hip-hop and poetry.

This album was recorded live at Club Imperial in 1965.
George Edick

When George Edick Jr. was in elementary school, he received a present he’ll never forget: a guitar from Ike Turner.

Edick grew up in the 1950s around musicians like Turner who played at his father’s Club Imperial, 6306-28 West Florissant Ave., in the Walnut Park West neighborhood in northwest St. Louis.

The run-down building escaped the wrecking ball last month after the St. Louis Preservation Board voted to save it.

This is a recent photo of the building that once housed Club Imperial.
Robert Vroman

Updated Jan. 23 — A building that was the site of an historic St. Louis music venue will remain standing, at least for the time being.

The St. Louis Preservation Board Monday night unanimously backed a decision to deny a demolition permit for the former Club Imperial.

Building owner Robert Vroman, who bought the building last August in an auction, said he hopes public attention will entice a new buyer with plans to restore the space. The deadline for paying additional taxes is summer 2019, Vroman said. He said that if no one steps forward with a renovation offer by then, he’ll let the property return to the city for another tax auction.

Pat Woods talks about her efforts to re-open the sit-down eatery in her College Hill neighborhood in north St. Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this month, Fresno's Diner on E. Grand Boulevard suffered extensive damages when a pickup truck ran into the side of the building. Members of the community have started a campaign to help re-open the establishment.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with the local restaurant’s owner, Pat Woods, about her efforts to improve the College Hill neighborhood in north St. Louis.

These photos were salvaged from a condemned home in the former Wendell-Phillips community in Kansas City.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Lois Conley was a teenager when her parents lost their Mill Creek neighborhood home to eminent domain. A portion of her former backyard became Market Street after the city leveled the area in the name of progress.

Conley is the founder of St. Louis' Griot Museum of Black History, which sits across the street from the site of the future National Geospacial-Intelligence Agency, in a demolished area that was part of the  St. Louis Place neighborhood.

Through Dec. 15, the north St. Louis museum is hosting an exhibition exploring how the government’s power to condemn mostly black neighborhoods has affected people in St. Louis and Kansas City. Conley and photographer Matt Rahner co-curated the display.

Conley talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Nancy Fowler about the exhibition, “Eminent Domain/Displaced,” as well as her personal experiences of more than 50 years ago.

Calvin Riley stands in one of the many rooms of the  George B. Vashon African-American Museum on St. Louis Avenue. (July 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Calvin Riley has spent years searching through musty basements and dusty attics to rescue the objects of historical significance that he displays in his George B. Vashon African-American Museum in north St. Louis.

“What I show here, you’re not going to see in other museums,’’ Riley said.

The Rev. Ken McKoy of the Progressive A.M.E Zion Church organizes NightLIFE walks three times a week in two north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of local clergy and community organizers will hold a “Fathers Peace Walk” for the first time after dark Friday, throughout some of St. Louis’ most dangerous neighborhoods. The event, held two days before Father’s Day, aims to confront high levels of crime in the area.

Fathers will lead the walk, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in front of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, 4675 Page Blvd., in north St. Louis, while mothers lead prayers inside the church.  

Mya Petty poses for a portrait before graduation last week.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since second grade, Mya Petty has taken an hour-long bus ride from Baden, her mostly-black north St. Louis neighborhood, to Chesterfield – where most of her classmates were white.

The recently graduated 18-year-old is one of thousands of students in St. Louis’ long-running school desegregation program, Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation. Last year, administrators voted to bring the decades-long program to a close.

Esther Shin, the new president of Urban Strategies, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss what the non-profit is working on in neighborhood revitalization.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded a $29.5 million grant to a team of developers to revitalize and transform the Near North Side neighborhood, which encompasses an area directly north of downtown St. Louis. The area runs from the riverfront to Jefferson Avenue on the west side and Washington Avenue on the south side to St. Louis Avenue near the Old North neighborhood on the north side.

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens hugs Rev. Ken McKoy, a pastor with Progressive Zion A.M.E. Church. Greitens walked with McKoy as part of NightLIFE, a group that seeks to curb violence in north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The bone-chilling streets of north St. Louis were largely empty last Friday night. An icy mist brought both automobile and foot traffic on Kingshighway to a halt, with the exception of a few cars and trucks – and a governor-elect.

On pavement that at times resembled an ice skating rink, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens walked methodically through the sidewalks and on the streets with a medium-sized scrum. The Republican chief executive-to-be was out with NightLIFE, a group seeking to curb violence in Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition winner will be open a restaurant at this location at St. Louis Avenue and North 14th Street in St. Louis' Old North area, seen in this file photo.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis contest is offering an unusual prize: a nearly fully-equipped restaurant.

Three local organizations are holding a competition in which the winner gets two years of free rent at a restaurant space catty-cornered from Crown Candy Kitchen, on St. Louis Avenue in the Old North area. The prize is a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas, a ventilation system and even the kitchen sink. The package is worth up to $100,000.

Provided by the Sierra Club

A St. Louis pastor heads to Chicago on this week to tell Environmental Protection Agency policymakers that a program under the Obama administration's clean energy plan should consider the needs of low-income communities. 

At the New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis, many people in the congregation struggle to pay their utility bills, the Rev. Rodrick Burton said. Most live in the 27th Ward, which Burton described as an economically depressed area where many folks are on fixed incomes. 

Brenda Nelson plays a card game with friends on Mullanphy Street during the street's last annual block party on Saturday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the third Saturday of July neighbors and former residents gathered in the 2300 block of Mullanphy Street in north St. Louis.

That’s when the annual block party always takes place.

But this would be the last one.

This photo of the Griot Museum of Black History at 2505 St Louis Ave. is from February 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Urban League of St. Louis and the Griot Museum of Black History are forming an alliance that the museum’s founder hopes will keep the museum going for generations.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, prepares for his guest appearance on St. Louis on the Air in 2014.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Illinois Congressman Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro< is asking for an investigation into the report that laid out the pros and cons for the proposed sites for a new $1.75 billion federal facility.

That’s after he and several other member of Illinois’ congressional delegation met with National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency director Robert Cardillo on Thursday.

Lindy Drew sits at a bus stop on North Grand Boulevard. with St. Louis resident Bryan Gordon after approaching him about her social media photo project, Humans of St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis photographer Lindy Drew spends her days talking to strangers.

If they’re up for it, Drew asks questions like, “What’s the nicest thing anyone has said to you lately?” before asking to take their picture. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen her project: Humans of St. Louis, also known as HOSTL (pronounced “hostile”).

The deal is not done, but St. Louis and Missouri officials are basking in a win.

That’s after National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency director Robert Cardillo told St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay late Thursday afternoon that north St. Louis is his preferred location for a new $1.75 billion facility.

Penrose Park Velodrome

If you drive from the airport toward downtown on I-70, you’ve probably missed a little-known bicyclists’ haven which sits just beyond your field of vision off of the highway at its intersection at Kingshighway Blvd: The Penrose Park Velodrome. It is one of 27 of its kind in the entire United States.

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

A formal rollout of a federal initiative that could help revitalize some of the poorest sections of north St. Louis County and city is expected next month.

From left to right: Dan Lovings, Phillip Johnson, and Andy Krumsieg.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Crumbling homes, missing bricks, dangerous streets, and crushing poverty — these details make up the overwhelming narrative of north St. Louis often offered by national media, local media and popular perception.

But Dan Lovings, a longtime St. Louis resident, moved to north St. Louis with the intention of owning and putting money into a house there. He meant to build a good home, increase property values, and join and contribute to the neighborhood. But to do so, he found, would require some individual initiative.

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

When natural disasters hit, neighborhoods where many residents live in poverty often have a harder time rebuilding than their more affluent neighbors.  

The Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equity (M-SLICE) is hosting a panel discussion Wednesday evening to brainstorm the future efforts to build infrastructure resiliency on the city's north side.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The holidays are the busy season at Angel Baked Cookies, a nonprofit that hires teenagers from north St. Louis year-round to make chocolate chip, sugar and oatmeal raisin cookies.

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