It had been awhile since I had checked up on the block of Aldine Place just east of North Kingshighway Boulevard. Needless to say, there has been some major landscaping! I had seen a huge cloud of smoke hovering over the area last weekend. I first examined this block in 2013 and then again in 2017.
The results of last week’s cloud of dust was the complete demolition of all the abandoned buildings, leaving the two owner-occupied four-families, one on each side of the street at the end of the block to the east.
The south side of the street had clearly been demolished longer ago, as the grass has already come up. I spoke with the neighborhood leader, as well as an attorney for a non-profit that fights slumlords, and they told me this was easily the worst block in St. Louis for out-of-town land speculators preying on North St. Louis communities. I don’t blame the City or the community for wanting to demolish all of the deteriorating structures. Some of the owners lived in Webster Groves and Jefferson County. I traced their addresses, and they lived in communities with well-manicured lawns and low crime. I wonder how they would feel if St. Louis City residents bought land in their communities and let the grass grow three feet tall and let the windows be smashed out of the house next door? I think we know the answer to that question. But that’s just capitalism, I’ve been told.
As can be seen by the two owner-occupied four-family houses that are left, when actual residents who live in the neighborhood are left to take care of their properties, they are in great shape, with the buildings well-maintained and the grass cut.