EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill — A new non-profit is on a mission to make East St. Louis a place people want to move to and stay in.
Lansdowne Up, which started a month ago, has purchased more than 250 pieces of land and has its eyes on several more to buy in the area.
The group has taken eyesores around the city and spruced them up with plans to bring in new housing.
One of the lots on Gross Avenue covered with weeds and trash will soon be a new subdivision with 20 homes.
“We're really doing it one person, property, at a time," said Kevin Green, director of administration.
The non-profit hires people from the community to do the lawn work and take care of other needs.
Another project in the works will focus on an old, vandalized school, down the street from the future subdivision.
Once complete, it will house the East St. Louis Wrestling Club, and it'll be dedicated to learning and workforce development.
Green added that giving children a place where they can grow and feel pride is the goal.
"They don't have to look at trash. They don't have to look at a vacant house— one that's falling. They don't have to look at a house that unfortunately is used for drug abuse and prostitution,” Green said.
On the other side of town, there is an organization with a similar mission.
Lansdowne Community Initiative out of Unity Lutheran Church has been in motion since 2014.
The organization initially began by helping fix up lived-in homes with grants.
Recently, it has dilapidated properties and revamping houses through volunteer work, the church, and community organizations.
"We want to salvage as many of these strictures as possible because the aesthetics of the community is really great. Great architecture. Great brickwork,” said Willie Stallworth, pastor of Unity Lutheran Church and chief executive director of the initiative.
"How do we get people back into East St. Louis? Well, we got to create the housing that makes them want to come back," Green expressed.
Lansdowne's Up’s new subdivision is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2023 and the school sometime this summer.