Last year we had so had much fun making a list of our favorite development projects and blogging on each. We'll do it again for 2017! Plenty to be optimistic about. What'd we miss?
Another 2016 development favorite announcement that is well underway in Soulard. This one hugs the existing historic buildings and will bring a lot of activity to a former boring entrance to a popular neighborhood. Passers-by on I-44/I-55 will certainly get a taste for what St. Louisan's know. Lots of positive development is happening in St. Louis.
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.
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:
- Heart of Missoula, Missoula, Montana
- Over the Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio
- Seward, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Peal, San Antonio, Texas
- Uptown Greenwood, Greenwood, North Carolina
- Congress Street, Tucson, Arizona
- Lincoln Avenue and Giddings Plaza, Chicago, Illinois
- Mainstreet, Waterloo, New York
- Park Lane, Kirkland, Washington
- South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri
- County Home Complex, Pitt County, North Carolina
- Market Square, Knoxville, Tennessee
- Mill Creek Linear Park, Bakersfield, California
- Rosa Park Circle, Grand Rapids, Michigan
- 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.
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.
Lately I've been giving some thought to national chains in the city, from Chic-fil-A, which is building it's first St. Louis store on a massive lot in the Lindenwood Park Neighborhood along Hampton to Target, JC Penny's, etc. I think we need a mix of chains and locally owned small businesses to thrive. Here are some thoughts.
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.
Lafayette Avenue has seen a recent influx of investment in the form of modern infill. This important connection between Jefferson and Grand that runs through the Gate District Neighborhood is filling in gaps with some of the most unique housing in St. Louis. Personally, we love the contrast of old and well-done new construction. Take a look at what we mean.