For Immediate Release
Samantha Lee Smugala, Founder, Pocketparks, 618-334-4772
Local Organizations Collaborate to Develop Green Space in the West End
Violence Prevention Commission and ReCAST St. Louis Provide $30,000 Grant
St. Louis, MO (July 9, 2021) — In an effort led by a group of residents in the West End neighborhood, a collaboration of nonprofit and community organizations will transform a vacant lot at 5900 Clemens Avenue into a beautiful, active, community green space.
The project addresses a variety of concerns surrounding vacancy. Vacancy has been known to blight neighborhoods, decrease property values, and correlate to violent crime. Along with offering residents a special place to visit and enjoy, the green space will serve as an instrumental tool in creating a safer and healthier community.
The Violence Prevention Commission Small Grants Initiative, funded by ReCAST St. Louis, have awarded a $30,000 grant to fund the project. Residents of the West End will work in collaboration with the West End South Community Improvement District (CID), the St. Louis Arts Chamber of Commerce, St. Louis ArtWorks, and Pocketparks on the conversion The St. Louis Arts Chamber of Commerce will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the project. Collaborators on the design and build of the green space include Washington University’s Urban Planning Department, Frank Wilson of BFW Contractors, and Sam Avery, architect and board member of St. Louis Arts Chamber of Commerce.
Over the next three months, the group will gather community feedback, develop a design, and implement the construction of the green space. The project is set for completion at the end of September.
Community members are encouraged to fill out online surveys and deliver feedback at one of two upcoming events:
· Self-guided walking tour on July 10 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Residents are invited to walk the neighborhood at their leisure and provide feedback.
· Pop-up event on July 17 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.). The pop-up will include a food truck, local vendors, community information, snacks, games, and more. The event is free and open to the public. Food and beverages sold separately. Attendees will be asked to follow CDC Guidelines.
“The West End neighborhood has more than 100 vacant lots that are owned by the City and these lots are more than just eyesores –they impact our mental and physical health,” said Tonnie Smith, West End resident and board member of St. Louis ArtWorks and West End South CID. “Our goal is to show neighbors how activating vacant lots can help improve outcomes for the community.”
The group is seeking volunteers, donors, and contributors to support the project, as well as future improvements to the neighborhood. To get involved and to learn more details about the community events and online surveys, visit (insert website).