St. Louis picked for federal program

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - St. Louis is one of just seven cities picked from a list of more than 50 for a government program called Strong Cities, Strong Communities.

At least one person, maybe more, will move to St. Louis for as long as two years to assist the city in projects like revitalizing North St. Louis.

William Burton lives, breaths and paints North St. Louis. He sees his art as a way to connect his community.

His shop, 14th Street Artist Community Gallery, is in the Old North neighborhood which in recent years has connected in revitalization efforts.

Burton applauds federal help as long as it makes a place for those struggling there today.

"I think they should be able to enjoy those same resources that those other communities get to enjoy because what it will do would motivate and inspire those and give them access to those same resources that they may be able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps," he said.

The goal is to work with the mayor's office and the community to cut federal red tape, speed up projects and help secure federal grants for things like the Northside Regeneration Project.

"I think it's about time that St. Louis is on the federal map," said Michael Allen, an architectural historian with Preservation Research Office. He's glad to hear the initiative will also focus on the city's sustainability program, which addresses a myriad of issues city-wide from crime to conservation.

"I just think we need to balance the money we give toward the new project like Northside Regeneration with ongoing stabilization, especially in very dense areas in North and South St. Louis that might not be as dense building wise or people wise if we don't leverage these resources," Allen said.

The Northside Revitalization project, which has endured court battles and other challenges, has been ongoing for years.

Newschannel 5 reached out to the developer, Paul McKee, who started it to see how this federal assistance might help, but as of this writing we didn't hear back. haven't heard back.


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