River des Peres Greenway Extension - Completed in 2017

River des Peres Greenway Extension - Completed in 2017

The 1.5 mile extension of the Great Rivers Greenway that connects the Shrewsbury Metrolink station to Slay Park runs through the Lindenwood Park and Ellendale Neighborhoods near St. Louis' southwest border. This extension was on our list of favorite 2016 projects that came to completion in 2017. 

October, 2017 Cultural Resources Office - Preservation Board Meeting

October, 2017 Cultural Resources Office - Preservation Board Meeting

There continues to be a lot of infill development being proposed all over the city. October's proposals caught my eye because they are in my neck of the woods. I visited each site in Benton Park, Compton Heights, Lafayette Square and McKinley Heights to check out the scene and hopefully get some final photos of empty lots that will soon have foundations being dug.

South Grand Named 1 of 15 "Great Places in America" by American Planning Association

The stretch of South Grand Boulevard between Arsenal and Utah was named one of the country's "Great Places in America" by the American Planning Association.

It's always good to get recogintion on the national level for things every St. Louisan knows. Our city can compete with the best and we are a hidden treasure.

Here's a list of the winners including streets, neighborhoods and public places that represent the gold standard of thoughtful and deliberate planning:

  1. Heart of Missoula, Missoula, Montana
  2. Over the Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio
  3. Seward, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  4. Peal, San Antonio, Texas
  5. Uptown Greenwood, Greenwood, North Carolina
  6. Congress Street, Tucson, Arizona
  7. Lincoln Avenue and Giddings Plaza, Chicago, Illinois
  8. Mainstreet, Waterloo, New York
  9. Park Lane, Kirkland, Washington
  10. South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri
  11. County Home Complex, Pitt County, North Carolina
  12. Market Square, Knoxville, Tennessee
  13. Mill Creek Linear Park, Bakersfield, California
  14. Rosa Park Circle, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  15. San Angelo Concho River Walk, San Angelo, Texas

Here's a short video from the APA showing snippets of each winner, South Grand used Ritz Park as the visual:

The reason we got this designation was due to the lane reduction, sidewalk widening, environmental easing in the form of runoff management/landscaping and the remaking of Ritz Park. It really does look nice.

But, the thing that makes this stretch of Grand a great place is that it is functional. It serves people who live here over just people who visit here. Residents benefit from this street. It is walkable in every way. You can enter businesses from the front, the alley and side streets.

There is much more here than just restaurants, but those that are here aren't just high-end regional draws, they serve the neighborhoods surrounding Grand with with excellent, affordable food (in most cases).

Tourists and visitor from the burbs feel welcome here which is great. But, residents see neighbors here too. It's a place that serves all.

Our family optometrist is here. If you haven't used locally owned Lucas Optometry, then you are missing the boat. This place is great and the people that have worked here for years are familiar, like warm acquaintances. I get into a conversation about fishing in Willmore Park and kids going to school in the city and urban issues. It's fun. 

There is a legitimate international market, Jay International, that has everything you can't get at the supermarkets. It is real, priced right and serves the immigrant population well.

Ice cream is a reward for kids. The Tower Grove Creamery is manned by many local kids and owners that talk to you and care. 

You can mail a package at the post office, you can fill up your tank at a cool looking gas station, you can get your hair cut fancy or barber shop style. You can find a home away from home workspace at the Gelateria, you can bank here, you can get Xmas trees here.

It is a functioning, neighborhood corridor and street that serves people with diversity. It is worthy of all praises and it looks better than ever.

It truly is a great city street. We need to focus on smart design and development so more of these corridors can pop up in other parts of the city where lots of people live, including Morgan Ford, Martin Luther King, St. Louis Avenue, Page, Chippewa, Broadway you name it. 

Eclipse 2017- Local Sounds & Scenes Add to the Spectacles of the Cosmos

Eclipse 2017- Local Sounds & Scenes Add to the Spectacles of the Cosmos

The build-up to the great eclipse of 2017 had me rolling my Gen-X eyes in cynicism. I expected clouds. What I got was a most memorable afternoon filled with the sights and sounds of my little pocket of the city. It was a grand spectacle. Here's a recount of some of the things that caught my ear as well as my eye on August 21st, 2017.

Near and (Sort of) Afar - by: Monica Groth-Farrar

Near and (Sort of) Afar - by: Monica Groth-Farrar

A guest post from Monica Groth-Farrar highlighting the joys of city living. Monica is a talented writer and St. Louis City resident. She is the debut author of the hilarious and delightful novel: "The Big Let Go".

Oh yeah, Monica is also my sister and the person responsible for tipping my trajectory to the west toward St. Louis and single-handedly turned me on to countless records and political & social views that changed my life.

Tower Grove Park

Tower Grove Park

Between June, 2013 and October, 2014 I blogged on all 108 St. Louis parks. As part of that project, I chose not to include Tower Grove Park since it's technically not a city park.

Per the official city designation, Tower Grove Park is an Independent Park

But it would be wrong not to cover it here for completeness sake. And, since I moved to this part of the city nearly six years ago, I've really taken to this park. Driving by the perimeter or within the interior just doesn't do the park justice. This is one of the best walking parks in the city. You have to experience it at a slower pace if you want to take in the full ~289 acres.

Scooter Ride #1

Scooter Ride #1

I jumped on my 2010 Kymco People S250cc scooter on a sunny, hot morning for a long ride this weekend.

North and Central parts of the city are my favorite places to ride. So much is changing in these parts of St. Louis, sometimes I feel like I lose my bearings on where I'm at. In some cases, new buildings are up, constructions fences are blocking the views I'm used to or sadly, buildings have crumbled or fallen to the ground.

Here are some photos and a couple words on my random ride. 

City Garden's Latest Restaurant Tenant Hits The Nail On The Head

City Garden's Latest Restaurant Tenant Hits The Nail On The Head

I've been spending a lot of time lately at Kiener Plaza and City Garden taking photos and enjoying the spaces. When you have kids, this place is even more exciting. They love hanging out in both places.

City Garden opened in July, 2009. This lushly landscaped outdoor art and fountain area has been a hit for visitors and residents as well.

It bills itself as an "urban oasis" and it lives up to the claim.