Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Fox Park Neighborhood

Fox Park is a south St. Louis neighborhood bound by I-44 to the north, Gravois to the south, Nebraska to the west and Jefferson to the east:
Fox Park had a rough decade from 1990 to 2000 losing 13% of its residents.  As of 2000, 3,165 residents were counted, 64% black, 31% white, 6% Hispanic/Latino and 1% Asian.  1,549 housing units were counted, 71% occupied, 37%/63% owner/renter.  Another 17% decline was observed in the 2000-2010 timespan with slight racial shifts:  61% black, 32% white, 5% Hispanic and 1% Asian.

That's not to say the future doesn't look bright....very bright.  In fact, I would say that Fox Park is the heart of the up and coming south side neighborhoods with the most potential.  With McKinley Heights to the east, Fox Park in the middle, Compton Heights and Tower Grove East to the west and Benton Park West to the south, this stretch of the city has enormous upside potential in the coming decade.  Recent years have already seen a lot of investment and organization; I firmly believe this will continue.  I will show my hand and say this is one of the neighborhoods we are pining to move to.  There is a community garden established within the hood, you are 1 mile from Lafayette Park, 1.5 miles from the Soulard Farmers Market, 3.75 miles from the Riverfront Trail, the location is dynamite.

There is an impressive master plan in place for the park that gives the neighborhood its name.  Here are a couple sites at the park:


The  picture above is the entrance to the home plate side of a baseball field constructed by Cardinals Care in memory of pitcher Daryl Kile (remember his amazing curve ball?).  Even with this field, the park is still underwhelming and underused.  The master plan could put the neighborhood on the map by providing the centerpiece that many city parks bring to their respective neighborhoods.

As I've mentioned before, Russell is one of my favorite east-west streets in the city.  Here are some Fox Park sites along the classic St. Louis street:


Shenandoah is another impressive east-west city street, and Fox Park looks great along Shenandoah.
Fox Park was obviously disconnected from its neighbors to the north (The Gate District) by I-44. Geyer is the most northern street adjacent to the interstate; there are some rehab opportunities as well as some nice homes on this stretch:


Oregon Street has some new homes that seem to fit in well with their surroundings.  Alone they might look out of place:


But when you flank them with a couple Fox Park originals, they flow (new one to the left):


There are many corner businesses that are active, or rehab ready or just waiting for a creative new use:


 
 
The former Tanner B's restaurant at Nebraska and Shenandoah:
This place, Kim Van, is supposed to offer the elusive St. Paul sandwich, didn't have time to check it out though; whenever I'm in this part of town, it's Fritanga Nicaraguan cuisine that I must enjoy.


Sites along Jefferson in Fox Park include Kakao chocolate and confections, The Way Out Club, and arguably the coolest looking tattoo parlor in the city:  Trader Bob's Tattoos (although there are places in the Patch and Carondelet that may rival them), and some other businesses:


 
Some cool signs sprinkled around Fox Park:


 
The Koken Art Factory on Ohio:
 
My favorite building is on Accomac, check this baby out:


There are beautiful churches. The Catholics made another striking cathedral and parish complex: St. Francis De Sales on Ohio Street which is visible from many points within the hood.


I like the sign on the Lutheran church along Jefferson, it reads "Experience Rebirth in Fox Park", I realize this is a religious thing, but it seems to me like Fox Park is amidst a rebirth of its own. 


There are signs of active rehab and building permits all over the place.  This is what makes me feel so bullish on this part of town:


This recent rehab at Nebraska and Sydney is a real improvement for Fox Park:
Don't let me mislead you though, there are pockets of Fox Park that need some TLC.  There are some trashy properties and there are some vacant homes.  They could use some more intra-neighborhood retail/business (tell me a neighborhood that doesn't), and there was some intentional cul-de-sacs put in place that disconnects the streets from one another.  But...the upside will certainly out weigh the negatives of today.  There is a great mix of small, medium, large homes and some handsome rental apartments.  My mental picture of Fox Park in 10-15 years is that of an urban oasis.  The housing stock diversity will keep an economic mix and the neighborhood should continue to get more walkable and welcoming to all walks of life.

Oh yeah, and the homes within the neighborhood are among the best looking in town:


Check out this mini-mansion, I haven't seen one of these yet:





 
I hope to one day call Fox Park home.

I apologize for the depressing tone of the photos, the weather has been rainy and gloomy.  When the sun breaks through, I may have to revisit my top 5 favorite neighborhoods for some more quality shots.  Fox Park is firmly cemented in my top 5.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Fox Park now for about 3 years. We love our neighborhood!! There are actually two community gardens. Those apartments on Accomac are one of my favorite buildings in the city. Great write up.

Mark Groth said...

^anon, that is one of the coolest apartment buildings in the city. I miss the days when architects made rentals to be as proud as homes. I am saving for a wide angle lens so I can go back and get some proper photos of Accomac.

Anonymous said...

I moved to Fox Park about 4 years ago, and scored my dream home for a ridiculously low price. You are right that this place is a gem. The gentrification has been slow though.But the neighborhood is clean, quiet, safe, and the neighbors are fantastic people. We welcome you.

Anonymous said...

I moved to Fox Park about 4 years ago, and scored my dream home for a ridiculously low price. You are right that this place is a gem. The gentrification has been slow though.But the neighborhood is clean, quiet, safe, and the neighbors are fantastic people. We welcome you.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. Thanks for recognizing the beauty of our neighborhood! I certainly hope that Fox Park continues to be on the rebound. Our block in particular has struggled and still has several vacant buildings that are a definite eyesore. Your post though, has reminded me of the beauty that is often hidden in our 'hood. Thank you! We need more neighbors like you!

Anonymous said...

Represent! I've been in Fox Park for two years, and I have never lived in an area with so many proud residents. The individuals who maintain the median on Russell are just one example of the kind of people every neighborhood should have. It shows visitors and the rest of the city that people really do care!

Mark Groth said...

^All, it's good to hear such positivity from you the residents. Keep up the good work in making Fox Park a desirable place for all.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see the demographics after the next census. The neighborhood has changed drastically the last 10 years. My block consists of professionals, young families and emptynesters.

MusicBoxxer said...

Great post, I live in fox park and happen to work at Kakao Chocolate. Wouldnt trade our neighbourhood for anything. Fritanga is an amazing restaurant and my family has been going to Kim Vans for years

Anonymous said...

Thanks Fox Park residents! I am trying to decide on a rental on Shenandoah, and all of these comments may have just made up my mind for me! Sounds like a great place to be.

ginthefer said...

Like the person above me, I am also looking to move to the area and found the comments very encouraging. My daughter and I may be the newest Fox Park residents in a couple weeks.

I want to know more about these community gardens!

Hannah said...

My husband and I are in the final processes of moving to Fox Park in (we hope!!) September. This post makes me feel as though we made not only a good decision for us, but a great decision for the future!

Anonymous said...

I spent all my childhood in Fox Park! We lived on Magnolia and California! There are things about this neighborhood I so miss! But there are things I do not! I get depressed when I go down to visit my mother who still lives in my childhood home. I pray some day that the city will go back to how it used to be, with owner occupied homes! AND neighbors who care about their properties!

Anonymous said...

My fiance and I are looking at a few homes in the Fox Park area right now. Our realtor just sent us 30 listing, and about 12-15 are in the Fox Park neighborhood! I was pretty leary at first, but one of the homes is 1 block from the actual park...it is HUGE and the price is great, so I need to see what is wrong with it! I am hoping after reading more on the neighborhood and driving around to check out the houses it changes my mind. Does anyone know if there is a Fox Park Neighborhood Assoc? Feel free to contact me if there is, LeslieRehm@att.net or Leslie Rehm on facebook.

Anonymous said...

I lived on the 2300 block of Russell just off the corner of Jefferson in 2000. I was technically in McKinley. I always thought the neighborhoods of Fox and MH would take off someday. Back then gunfire was a normal thing coming from the Fox side of Jefferson. That's why we moved but loved that old house and the city feel of the area.