Vacancy | St. Louis Public Radio

Vacancy

Lumber collected from a building in the Vandeventer neighborhood on Nov. 21, 2019.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

For years, an empty three-story warehouse on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Whittier Street was just another eyesore in north St. Louis. 

But last summer, workers began to dismantle the 136-year-old building and saved about $250,000 worth of brick, lumber and other materials. The city had selected the former moving and storage warehouse as its first project to deconstruct, or take apart, a building to salvage its components. 

Unlike demolition, deconstruction saves valuable materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It also doesn’t emit harmful pollutants into the surrounding community and provides more jobs because it requires more workers. 

A vacant lot on Finney Avenue photographed on October 8, 2019. The Neighborhood Lot Maintenance pilot program aims to chip away at the issue of overgrown city-owned vacant land by hiring private contractors to maintain the land.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Thaddeus Gerdine maintains more than 60 vacant lots in the city of St. Louis. 

“They just seemed like no one was taking care of them,” said Gerdine, who keeps the grass trimmed and picks up trash.

His construction company, Triple T, is one of five small businesses participating in a city-run pilot program that pays private crews to maintain vacant lots. The program, which is wrapping up its first season, focuses on neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of vacant land. 

Eltoreon Hawkins works on a house in the Walnut Park West neighborhood of St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eltoreon Hawkins has made it his mission to help St. Louisans buy vacant, city-owned houses.

The 25-year-old contractor bought his first home from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority when he was a student at Harris-Stowe State University.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 15, 2013 - Legislation significantly altering the way statewide vacancies would be filled appears to be on the fast track in the Missouri House.

The House Elections Committee on Tuesday approved House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith’s legislation to curb the governor's power to fill any vacancies in other statewide offices.