St. Louis Has a Vacancy Problem
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – What can be done with some of the vacant properties in north St. Louis and throughout the city?
Alderman Antonio French says he’s heard some good ideas, “Everything from community gardens to taking some of these vacant buildings and making them homes for artists, perhaps turning some vacant commercial buildings into art studios and community centers.”
French was a panel speaker on Saturday at a conference designed to generate local input on turning around blocks of vacant homes where crime often becomes a problem.
One speaker said nearly 20% of the addresses in the city of St. Louis are vacant. That’s the second highest percentage in the nation, he said, behind only New Orleans.
Washington University master’s degree student R.J. Koscielniak is with nextstl.com , and helped organize the conference, “St. Louis needs to be held in the same conversation as Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. There’s a general sense of excitement about what those cities can be. Yeah, they’re continuing to lose population, but there’s a sense of innovation and imagination about those. And it’s here (in St. Louis), it just needs to be tapped into and concentrated on certain projects.”
Koscielniak says he was thrilled with the turnout of 100 for Saturday morning’s opening session.
Panel discussions and neighborhood walk-throughs were held later.
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