Man on a mission to restore city's Ward 3 -


Man on a mission to restore city's Ward 3

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James Hudson has a vision to improve the city's Ward 3 by opening a community center. James Hudson has a vision to improve the city's Ward 3 by opening a community center.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

James Hudson, a longtime resident of St. Louis' Ward 3, told News 4's Andre Hepkins about his mission to restore the Hyde Park and College Hill neighborhoods of the city by building a new community center. 

"I travel throughout the entire third ward," said Hudson. "I am interested in trying to bring back the entire third ward, but this could be a starting point for us."

Hudson admitted the section of the city has gone through rough times, but he wants to push it further along a positive path. By converting a city-owned building into a community center, Hudson hopes to give a boost to the formerly bustling community.

At the edge of downtown St. Louis, right off of I-70, the historic Hyde Park and College Hill neighborhoods feature impressive red-brick structures next to rundown, vacant buildings.

"This was a beautiful community," said Hudson. "I grew up with families all throughout this community, most of them have moved away."

Since his childhood, things have changed in the community, where "the drugs came in very, very heavy," said Hudson, and there have been a few homicides in the area, as well.

Additionally, many residents of the area have developed a dangerous attitude about guns.

"These guys have a philosophy: 'I'd rather be caught with it than without it,' meaning a pistol," Hudson said.

Hudson, a former iron worker, has developed a plan to eradicate violence and restore the vibrancy of the community's past by building a community center.

"We want to have our center cater to every culture there is, from the young to the old. It would help restructure our whole community. To me, it would help restructure our entire city," said Hudson.

Part of Hudson's plan is to bring a paid-for trade program to his community, which he says would help to fix up abandoned buildings and allow students to learn a trade. A community center would also be an opportunity to attract new families.

"If everything (Hudson) says is done and run properly, it'd be great," said Martha Wallace, who lives in the neighborhood. "The kids need something to do."

Other area residents agree with Wallace.

"If you have something to do, then you won't worry about breaking into your next door neighbor's house, or their car," said Patricia Thomas.

Neighbors hope a community center will become part of a movement adding to the momentum to generate economic improvement. If you are interested in helping Wallace's efforts, click here.

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