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Groups work to rebuild north St. Louis neighborhood

Young people in north St. Louis were busy Sunday revitalizing homes in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood

ST. LOUIS — Young people in north St. Louis were busy Sunday revitalizing homes in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.

"Look at this grass right? This the kind of service that the block unit should be offering for free through the young people in the neighborhood," said Farrakhan Shegog, CEO of Young Voices with Action.

Farrakhan Shegog leads efforts to revitalize the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood with members of Young Voices with Action like Aniyah Betts.

"We have people who love their neighborhood, and they're not budging. They don't want to leave, and we want to help them secure their neighborhoods here and lock it down here and move people back," Betts said.

With small grants and money from their own pockets, Shegog and a few other homeowners bought several dilapidated properties along Lotus Avenue.

Marc Taylor is with Easton Development Corporation, a company that's helping with construction.

"We just want to buy under the umbrella the houses in these types of neighborhoods. I don't know if a lot of big developers will touch them at this point, so we want to be like the first ones to come in here and actual do this," he said.

Phase one of the revitalization effort involved buying the properties and getting them ready for reconstruction. During phase two, workers will finish rehabbing the homes and put them on the market.

Randen Click joined efforts to help finance rehab projects through the Gateway Neighborhood Fund and supports current homeowners in need of repairs.

"Their homes have been undervalued for so long that they can not get traditional financing. So the Gateway Neighborhood Fund also provides financing to bring their homes up to par," he said.

The groups plan to finish the properties on Lotus Avenue by the end of the year before moving on to other places in need.

"This is our home, and beautification is everything. We have neighbors (and) a lot of elders around here (who) just need someone to step up to the plate to keep the beautification of our city," said Janell Taylor, another Young Voices with Action member.

To donate to the revitalization project, visit the Young Voices with Action website.