ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) - Downtown St. Louis has seen a big facelift in the past year, from Ball Park Village to the ongoing revitalization of the Arch grounds. But there are other places that still need some work - like MLK Drive - where dozens of vacant buildings have become eyesores.
Alderman Jeffrey Boyd serves the 22nd ward in west St. Louis. He said he cares about the area because he was born and raised there. Hearing him talk about his neighborhood, you cannot miss the smile that lights up his face.
"This was the shopping mecca back in the 50's and in the whole region, this is where people came to shop. It was a destination place and it was exciting," Boyd said.
Now places like the Wellston Loop building, which is still listed on the national historic register, are neglected. Trash in the streets surrounds the abandoned buildings. Boyd wants to change this image.
"We just need a lot of support. We need a lot of help and a lot of people that will believe in us and will come back to this neighborhood and reinvest," Boyd said.
Until he gets that help, Boyd is taking matters into his own hands. He is putting more than $300,000 of his own money into renovating one building into a used auto sales and event space. He said this is ultimately addressing a big picture issue: stopping the cycle of violence that continues to plague his community.
"If you don't have hope, it's depressing. Hope inspires us. Hope gives is a reason to move on. If you don't have hope and you all you think about is despair, it's depressing and you just don't care," Boyd said.
Boyd wants to bring hope to his neighborhood, one rehabbed building at a time.
"I want to be part of revitalizing MLK. And I'm one of these people who like to walk the walk and talk the talk, so I'm putting my money where my mouth is," Boyd said.
The city is now working on rehabbing the Welston Loop building. Work begins on that project in October.
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