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West End Round Up

Transforming a Vacant Lot into a Pocket Park

By: Robert Strikwerda

The vacant lot at the corner of Hamilton and Clemens is fast turning into a role model for beautifying neighborhoods. A walkway through the lot has been laid, artwork from St. Louis ArtWorks will be installed, and on Saturday morning, the 2nd of October, volunteers will be putting some 350 plants in the ground. Everyone is welcome, and people are asked to bring tools, knee pads, and water if possible.

This has been a long time developing, said Tonnie Glispie Smith, president of the West End South CID committee. “We first discussed doing something with this lot at a [5900/6000 Clemens] block meeting four years ago since it is one of the first things people see when they come into our neighborhood.”

It had been vacant for 38 years, but over this summer, it was full of life. Several events were held at the lot to acquaint people with the park and gather ideas for how it be should designed. There were games, vendors and a food truck, and good community turnout.

Various possibilities for the lot’s future were raised, and Smith later connected with the Regional Arts Commission and St. Louis Artworks. Ideas became focused on a park designed to have flexible uses, what is called “a green / flex space.” Recently the advocates linked up with a new group in St. Louis: Pocket Parks, and decided to become one of the six pocket parks being developed in our city. Pocket Parks is leasing the lot from Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) with plans to purchase it.

Read the full story here.

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