Last week, neighbors from the West End and Visitation Park came together at Better Family Life to discuss more strategies around the West End Plan.

The goals of this meeting were to explore additional concepts around land use, vacancy, and what the future of the neighborhood should look like.

To start off the evening, people gathered into a small auditorium where members of the planning team provided updates on the plan, recent activities, and future activities. There was even a door prize with one of the neighbors winning an interactive doorbell with a camera to see who is at their door!

Another key point of this meeting was to introduce the other members of the planning team to the public. While up until this point, planning team members from The Steering Committee, Cornerstone and Rise have been visible working in the community, but the other members of the planning team have been only been working behind the scenes or have been recently added to the planning effort.

The new members of the planning team that west end neighbors got to meet are:

  • West End Resident Katib Waheed, Racial Equity Consultant who will be working through Racial Equity Learning Exchanges.
  • Melissa Sanders and Andrea Godshalk from St. Louis Based Black Arc Design, the Urban Design firm who will be producing the drawings and renderings of what neighbors want to see.
  • National Market Analysis leaders Development Strategies was represented by Brad Baggs, who will be completing a market study for the West End planning area.

Following the presentations and discussions from the new members of the planning team, the “Open House” style portion of the community meeting began.

With various topic-based stations for community members to give input on aspects from zoning to housing to LRA properties and vacancy, the planning team was busy all night talking through potential options for what could be done to improve quality of life in the neighborhood and ensure that the needs of residents for the next few decades will be met.

In addition to the planning team members (including the new consultants who were introduced to the public that evening), the open house featured many other tables from people doing work in the area. The East Loop CID, Gateway Greening, The Vacancy Collaborative, and others!

To help inform the discussions, a series of maps and graphic boards were produced. These provided additional data around land use and other parcel information, in addition to some data from the census bureau and the City of St. Louis.