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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Historic Districts In and (Mostly) Around Tower Grove East

Last night's Tower Grove East Neighborhood Association meeting included a presentation by Lynn Josse on the different types of historic districts, how they work and how they get created. Lynn distributed a flier that included the following map.

As the map shows, a large swath of Tower Grove East and the southern end of Fox Park are surrounded by districts but not included in any. All or part of 45 blocks in Tower Grove East have no historic district status, and thus no availability of rehabilitation tax credits being used all around south city.


Matt M. said...

The integrity and historic value are there.

The problem is how to go about it.

Expand the "Tower Grove Heights" district northward or the Compton Hill district southward?

Try to form new districts based on some other historical development pattern separate from those? It certainly can't be the "Tower Grove East Leftovers National Register District".

Chris said...

There are too many slumlords in that area whose "investments" would be compromised by historic guidelines. We can't get in the way of good, clean capitalism can we?

Anonymous said...

The problem is how to pay for it. Most historic districts in St. Louis are funded by politicians committing ward allocations of HUD funds.

Or developers paying for single site nominations. Seldom to neighbors go out and raise money for something like this.

Lynn Josse said...

Can't expand Tower Grove Heights, because the area isn't in Tower Grove Heights. Also couldn't expand Compton Hill, at least not more than a little bit, since the area isn't Compton Hill. I also don't think there would be political support for a local district in this area. That being said, there is plenty of opportunity to list this area in the National Register as one or two districts based on their own historical development patterns.

With enough citizen interest, it may be possible to convince aldermen to fund such a project. Out in the county where they don't get block grant funding, it is becoming common for citizens to write their own nominations with varying degrees of professional assistance. It may also be possible for a local nonprofit to sponsor the nomination(s) with different sources of funding and volunteer work. There are lots of ways to get it done!

Doug Duckworth said...

Would these slumlords lobby against any historic district?

Would they have any political clout?

Absent someone like McKee, who owns hundreds of properties, how does someone with a questionable reputation have any political credibility? I would think that, since aldermen are trying to crack down, they wouldn't get much support.

Meredith said...

I moved to a beautiful house in Tower Grove East last October. The building was built in 1902. I live next to a house that won the Homer award. We love our neighbors, our neighborhood, and the businesses around our house. I am happy that our family calls Tower Grove East home.

I would love to be able to say that we, as a neighborhood, could get historic status. But we have lots of work to do on the way. The buildings behind me are boarded up and have been abandoned. Gunshots can be heard on a regular basis. People drive down the streets at 50 mph ignoring stop signs completely. Our house was broken in to while we were sleeping less than a month after we moved in. Kids walking home from school litter, and yet none of the schools seem to do any local litter patrol.

On our journey to gain historical status, maybe we should remember what being a neighbor meant back when this neighborhood was young. Maybe we should take the time to teach our children the same lessons.