Update: The vacant lot from where I took the picture above was redeveloped into a grocery store.
I don’t think I can find area of more contrasts in near south St. Louis than the area around Purina along 12th Street (Tucker Blvd). Once known as Frenchtown, the area is a strange mix of beautiful homes, well-done in-fill, public housing that will have to be torn down (again) in twenty years, and interstates, lots and lots of interstates.
What is left is certainly enough for an inspired in-fill project to create what St. Louis lacks so badly–a normal neighborhood within walking distance of Downtown. Chicago, Washington, New York, Philadelphia and even Baltimore all have strong, middle class neighborhoods a five minute walk from their downtowns.
Why can’t St. Louis? It will take real leadership, the rethinking of interstates and their roles in the central city, and more importantly, a break away from suburban style trash that is popping up all over the city.