ST. LOUIS - A man with a dream is working to revitalize Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in north St. Louis. He's shrugging off skeptics who say the task is too big for him to tackle, as he takes a promising step toward accomplishing his goal.
The man's name is Melvin White. His organization is called Beloved Streets of America. He, his staff, and his board already have the passion and drive, what they need now is funding. And BSA just received a $25,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Association and Wells Fargo to get the ball rolling.
"We just need St. Louis' support and we need the country to get behind us to make Dr. King's dreams a reality, instead of a nightmare," said White.
White says the nightmare is the trash, and crime, and blight plaguing Dr. Martin Luther Ding Drive. So, his organization has set up headquarters on the street, and BSA plans to use its grant money to renovate its building, using part of it as an indoor garden. White says doing so will help introduce the area to fresh fruit and vegetables they don't have access to currently. Other plans include a culinary school and café, and across the street, a community park.
All of the planned development is just down the street from the ward Alderman's office, who has been pushing for infrastructure funding and tax cuts for new businesses.
"It is a huge undertaking and it's going to take a tremendous amount of financing and it's going to take a tremendous amount of believers," said 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd.
Believing is something White says he can do, despite the question he's heard many times before. Which is, "Is the task at hand so great, that you can't do it?"
"I'd tell that person he needs to get on board with us," said White.
Because, White says Dr. Martin Luther King has proven there's no dream that's too big.
White says once he's finished in St. Louis, he hopes to take his dream to other Dr. Martin Luther King Drives across the country.
Mayor Francis Slay's office tells NewsChannel 5 it's also forming a strategic plan for the Dr. Martin Luther King Drive corridor. And, it hopes to work with White's organization in the future.
If you want to help, visit Beloved Streets of America's website.