NORTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - North City native Ticharwa Masimba says it’s heartbreaking to see shells of homes and businesses in the O’Fallon neighborhood.

Non-profit battles blight

“Just economic neglect,” said Ticharwa Masimba, with the non-profit organization Black Power Blueprint.

But new life is being birthed, with signs of construction at the corner of West Florissant and Alice Avenue.

“We want to reverse the flow of resources,” said Masimba.

Black Power Blueprint is hoping to generate economic development with the building of an outdoor venue space. The space will not only host events but will house a community garden and will host business incubator sessions.

News 4 checked with the city and found in the O’Fallon neighborhood, there are more than 400 vacant city-owned properties.

In neighboring College Hill there are 481 vacant properties and there are 536 vacant properties in the Fairgrounds neighborhood.

Masimba says they can’t get to them all but they’re hoping that by doing their part, it will encourage new business in the area.

“We anticipate that people will begin to invest in their homes, and it will have a domino effect,” said Masimba.

Organizers say they hope to have the project completed before winter. They say they already have a full calendar of events for the outdoor space in spring 2020.

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