St. Louis Place and the other neighborhoods targeted by Paul McKee's are historic neighborhoods with a rich past and solid brick homes. Although they are currently struggling and could benefit from redevelopment, McKee's vision is not the right way to go about it. A massive overhaul like his is focused on the wrong things. Instead of focusing on liveable communities where people want to raise a family, McKee wants to pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the area and place businesses there.
Anna Vemer Andrzejewski shares her opinion on large scale urban renewal below.
"Small-scale changes allow you to preserve collective memory more effectively than if you wipe everything out and start over." -Anna Vemer Andrzejewski
Philadelphia is an excellent example of this small- scale change. When Anna was a student at Temple University, the area surrounding the campus in North Philadelphia was run down and not particularly safe. Decades later when returning, she found it has been completely transformed by a steady, block by block redevelopment effort. This worked on a small scale in Lafayette Square and on a large one in North Philadelphia. There's no reason St. Louis Place and North St. Louis can't do the same.
"Your home is your source of pride. It can never be isolated from the broader landscape from which it is part." -Anna Vemer Andrzejewski
It's clear Lafayette Square's homeowners take great pride in their neighborhood and their efforts in restoring and maintaining their beautiful homes has resulted in the betterment of the neighborhood and the broader landscape surrounding it. It's time for residents of St. Louis Place and other neighborhoods targeted by NorthSide to stand up for their history and say no to McKee's idea to start fresh. Their houses and landmarks are sturdy reminders of the past and give the neighborhood its character. Giving into McKee's NorthSide plan would allow this charm and beauty to slip through the cracks of St. Louis history and be forgotten and that would be a shame.
It's easy to see the differences between Lafayette Square and St. Louis Place, but the two share an incredible amount of history and can both have bright futures. Focusing on the neighborhood's past as a valuable characteristic is essential and that is completely lacking in the McKee plan. It's time to change that and the NorthSide redevelopment would truly thrive then..