South St. Louis neighborhood turning waste, illegal dumping into works of art

South St. Louis neighborhood turning waste, illegal dumping into works of art. Credit: KMOV

"A $30 ticket for something that I didn't do," said Linda Davenport.

Linda Davenport was ticketed for an old mattress left leaning against her Dutchtown home.

She called the situation a prime example of why her neighborhood's considered one of the city's worst when it comes to illegal dumping.

"I don't like it," said Davenport. "I don't like it at all because it makes the community look bad."

From heavy items like furniture to little things like women's undergarments, News 4 found all sorts of waste left abandoned in the alley behind Davenport's home.

"When there's an issue that residents consistently call on we have to address it," said Sunni Hutton.

Sunni Hutton is the Community Development Manager at Dutchtown South Community Corporation, an organization working to address the neighborhood's waste issue.

"We're not just cleaning it up, we're actually educating people in the process," said Hutton.

The corporation has commissioned two art projects aimed at drawing attention to illegal dumping.

Hutton says selected artists will be showcasing unique waste reduction ideas, like artist Shea Brown, who is crocheting plastic bags to create a meditation and serenity station and artist Ann Johnson, who will be transforming plastic jugs into a garden-inspired archway illuminated by led lights.

"They're making good use of the trash?" said Rafael Whittier. "That's a great idea!"

"That's stupid!" said Linda Davenport. "Take the trash and haul it away."

"We have people, artists and individuals, showing that there's a use for these materials and you don't have to throw them away," said Sunni Hutton. "Our landfills are already overburdened and if we can find another use for them, then let's do it."

The Dutchtown South Community Corporation received a $120,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency in October 2016 to fund these initiatives.

The meditation station will be open to the public at Virginia Avenue and Liberty Street on April 7.

The garden-inspired archway is slated to be built next week and debut on March 31 next to the Melvin Theater at Pennsylvania Avenue and Chippewa Street.

The projects are part of the Dutchtown South Community Corporation's larger "So Fresh, So Clean, So Creative Southside St. Louis" campaign.

Hutton said the organization will be bringing on a consultant to create a plan on how to turn the neighborhood's trash into a profit that will fund more positive things for the community.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

News 4 Reporter

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