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Leaders target College Hill neighborhood for Clean Sweep revitalization project

More volunteers are needed for the event this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — The Regional Business Council, Urban League and other community partners are planning their second and final clean sweep event in the College Hill neighborhood this weekend.

The organizations are still looking for volunteers to help out between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Clean Sweep started in the basement of St. Augustine church in 2017. It helps further the goal of rebuilding the most vulnerable parts of town.

“I can remember when all the families lived in the homes,” said Andre Hennings, a neighbor and business owner. “It was beautiful. We had businesses all up and down West Florissant Ave."

Hennings remembers better days and sees the potential of what the neighborhood can turn back into.

Urban League CEO Michael McMillian said his organization is a bridge for resources to flow into the black community.

“We must take pride and dignity in our own areas,” McMillian said. “So that we have a place to feel proud of ourselves. So our young people can grow up in an environment like any other young person in htis country should be entitled to do.”

Hennings said families, support and leadership began leaving the area in the 1980s. Leaders said Clean Sweep is another tool to reinvest and care for communities in need.

“Creativity, strength, passion, love, you name it, everyone has something to add when rebuilding St. Louis,” Congresswoman Cori Bush said.

Alderman John Collins-Muhammad said 313 residents are outnumbered by 873 vacant buildings and 659 empty lots. The average household makes $41,000 and the average person doesn’t have a high school education.

“We know we can develop,” the alderman said. “As the congresswoman just said we can build back. We know we can bring in business owners and bring families back to north city.”

Hennings can’t wait for change and the new College Hill neighborhood to take shape.

“I am very pleased that they are coming to tear these (abandoned) buildings down,” he said. “To actually see them come down is a blessing. So now we can have a little more peace.”

Volunteers are still needed for Clean Sweep that will take place on Saturday, October 16 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.