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Solving North City blight one of targets of ARPA funding for community leaders

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Solving the blight issue in North City was the main topic at a American Rescue Plan funding roundtable in North City Tuesday.

St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones headed the roundtable at the Tandy Community Center with other community leaders. The city is looking for feedback on how to spend the next round of $250 million.

“The mayor made $150 million commitment to north Saint Louis in this next round to reverse decades of disinvestment,” said Nick Desideri with the mayor’s office. “We’re moving as quickly as possible to program more money and make sure families get the support they need.”

Latest numbers from city’s transparency portal shows $135 million of the first round of $250 million has been allocated. More than $80 million of that has been specifically targeted to a project, but only $6 million has actually been given out.

The St. Louis Association of Community Organizations President Sundy Whiteside attended the meeting. She and other organizations addressed the blight issue in North City.

“People feel that we don’t care about our city. So, outsiders come to our city and they dump,” Whiteside said. “People should be frightened to come into any neighborhood in the city and dump their trash. One of the most devastating things in our city is the trash and debris. We want residents to keep our neighborhoods clean to feel invested in it. Sometimes it’s just educating residents that you get one free large size dump at Hall Street. We have to educate them on that.”

Whiteside recommended creating a task force and campaign to solve the trash problem.

“Having neighborhood residents build their neighborhoods versus bringing in organizations to facilitate and help create neighborhood organizations,” she said. “In order to do that, we have to provide the training and funding to be a resource to help them as they build their neighborhood groups. We need other funding to help those that have privately-owned vacant properties, and residents existing in areas where they can’t afford to take care their own homes.”

A public town hall will be held Wednesday at O’Fallon Park Recreation Center at 4343 W. Florissant from 6pm - 8pm, and residents can RSVP here.

Another public town hall will be held on Tuesday, May 17 at Meramec Elementary School, 2745 Meramec Street, 6pm - 8pm.

The online survey closes on May 20.