So back in December I shared some thoughts on what an "up and coming" neighborhood means to me. I posted a reader poll based on personal curiosity to see if my thoughts and gut feeling on the subject compare to the readers of my blog. Now, I'm fully aware these free polls are entirely subjective and non-scientific and really just for fun.
Here are the results:
We have a winner, Dutchtown by 1 vote over Midtown. Some thoughts on the responses:
- there are 79 neighborhoods in St. Louis, you can't include them all. The 11 I chose were based on my experience and thought they would be good candidates.
- Marine Villa: I was shocked it didn't get more love. If I wanted to live on Cherokee Street, Marine Villa would be the neighborhood I'd choose. Benton Park West would be a close second.
- The write in votes
- Dutchtown and Midtown votes came from a couple URLs, so likely the same person voting over and over. Dutchtown could have easily been grouped in with Benton Park West, Gravois Park and Fox Park...after giving it some more thought, I think they are comparable when it comes to issues both upside and downside.
- Midtown and Midtown Alley are awesome and continue to blow my mind. Millions have been invested here and there are restaurants, nightclubs, businesses, housing, etc that are simply awesome and lots of fun. However, it doesn't strike me as a residential neighborhood (yet) and the census data indicate very low owner ocuupied housing units. But man, the potential is there and the momentum is awe-inspiring.
- Dogtown in not an official neighborhood, rather a part of town made up of Franz Park, Clayton/Tamm and Hi-Pointe...I love dogtown, but I wouldn't call it up and coming. I'd call it arrived or "is what it is". Sure there is a lot going on there, but I don't think of these neighborhoods as up and coming...it's more like Clifton Heights or the Hill...very stable.
- Cherokee Street is certainly up and coming. My thoughts exactly, that's why I put the Cherokee neighborhoods of Marine Villa, Benton Park West and Gravois Park up there. They didn't get many votes, although I don't think most people know what/where those neighborhoods are. Cherokee Street is exciting and a prime example of grass roots positivity and gentrification.
- Skinker-Debaliviere and DeBaliviere Place. OK, but million dollar homes don't qualify for up and coming to me. Soulard? No, it's a top 10 neighborhood.
- Tower Grove South is a tale of 2 neighborhoods. The north side and middle are fully functional, vibrant and alive. For that reason, I didn't include it. Yet, the south side around Gravois is a mess. This is one of those areas where drug dealing is so rampant and obvious it blows my mind why the cops and city don't crack down here. Park your car at Truc Lam and just watch right around 5-8 pm. Dudes are dealing right in the street plain as day.
My vote was for Forest Park Southeast. When my family was looking to move from the far southside to the middle belt of the city, we considered this area. However, we couldn't find a house that met our needs. I would live here in a heartbeat. In fact, I'll be doing a follow up post on Forest Park Southeast in the near future. So stay tuned.
I was happy to see Fox Park and Benton Park West get 20 votes apiece. To me, McKinley Heights, Fox Park, Tower Grove East and Benton Park West are the most important swing neighborhoods in the entire city for the next 10 years. These neighborhoods are among the few areas that are racially and economically integrated and gentrification, safety, urban living, development, etc will be hot topics for the next 10 years or so. As go these neighborhoods, so goes the entire city of St. Louis. This part of town is the barometer of where St. Louis is headed. The battleground for our future.
I have lived in an area that I would wholly consider an up and coming neighborhood for nearly 3 years and I've learned more about my urban sensibilities, needs, wants, fears, etc. I feel like I know what is great and exciting about St. Louis and what is frustrating and sad and tough as hell.
Bottom line: for now, I feel like I am part of something transformational living close to the action. I am happy to see building permit stickers all over this part of town. I am happy to see young people moving in. I am happy to see people who want to be engaged in their surroundings and the future of St. Louis in larger numbers.
Cheers to the up and coming neighborhoods of St. Louis.