ST. LOUIS - Out with the old, in with the new. That's the idea behind a revitalization plan for one north St. Louis neighborhood. And, those already working to turn it around couldn't be more pleased.
"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Latesha Alexander, who helps her mom run a faith-based nursery and learning center in the area. "We definitely wanted to reach out to the inner city youth and expand to this community to have somewhere for the children to feel safe."
And, safety is a major reason the city says it's tearing down 26 condemned and crumbling buildings. At a news conference Monday, community leaders called them a 'breeding ground' for crime.
"I pray that this is just the beginning of a rebirth here for the city of St. Louis," said Missouri State Rep. Jamilah Nasheed.
Once the buildings come down, the idea is to put new development in their place. Ranken Technical College has already laid out plans for some of the property. City leaders hope the neighborhood will take charge of the rest.
"This neighborhood has strength… most important of the people that live here, and the families who care deeply about this neighborhood and want to make it better for themselves and the city," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
Alexander is among those moving her interests into the neighborhood as others moved out. And she says, this little help from the city will go a long way.
"It makes us feel a lot more at peace in our minds knowing that our children are safe," said Alexander.
The majority of the buildings the city is demolishing already belong to the city because they have been abandoned and no one has been paying taxes on them. So it is paying for the demo on those properties. It has notified the remaining property owners and says it will bill them for the cost of the demo.