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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yet More Historic Districts in St. Louis (and Other Good News)


In furtherance to my recent post, Doug Duckworth has reminded me of a historic neighborhood (or two) in St. Louis that I neglected to include on my map of new historic districts in St. Louis.

Specifically, 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French has Tweeted that he is exploring the possibility of listing of the O'Fallon and Penrose neighborhoods on the National Register. (On a side note, Holly Place adjacent to O'Fallon Park is already listed). As Duckworth points out, French is a part of a growing movement of North Side leaders recognizing the importance of preservation to harnessing a sense of place--and economic development.

Also, the Preservation Board has released the final version of this month's Preservation Board agenda. Most demolition threats seem neutralized (see below). Perhaps the best news of the agenda is the appearance of the Wellston Loop Commercial Historic District, which is bound to be approved and likely soon listed on the National Register. This district spans Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on the city's western edge, from Clara on the east to city limits on the west.

Also slated for nomination is a boundary increase (the third such increase, to be exact) to the Central Carondelet district. The good news is that this is a large addition that will essentially render nearly all of greater Carondelet officially historic (the section of the city south of Bates and east of I-55). The district expansion in question is bounded by Bates, I-55, the River, and Holly Hills, covering over 600 buildings.


Vanishing St. Louis has covered the fact that the Carr School has been removed from the earlier agenda, as has a property in the Columbia Brewery District that was owned by Paul McKee, Jr. of Northside Project fame. That's likely good news. The word that I've heard regarding the crumbling Carr School is that the Carr Square Tenants Association (the owner) is fairly close to rehabbing the building. As Michael Allen noted on his blog, the City's Board of Public Service floods the Preservation Board with "condemnation for demolition" requests after these parcels rack up enough complaints and citations. Usually, Allen says, the Preservation Board dismisses these requests by the City outright anyway.

The proposed Soulard demolition at 1927-29 S. 10th Street has been given a vote of no confidence by the Cultural Resources Office. So, too, is the Soulard Restoration Group opposed. That means that it's likely the demolition of this circa 1850s contributing resource to one of St. Louis's most stable and attractive historic districts will not get approved at tomorrow night's meeting of the Preservation Board. More information can be found here.

The only other remaining "condemnation for demolition" requests by the City remaining on the agenda is 3959 N. 11th Street (link to agenda item), in Hyde Park. Third Ward Alderman Freeman Bosley is opposed to the demolition, lending hope to this situation as well.

All in all, it looks like preservationists can breathe easier--and even more neighborhoods can partake in historic tax credit benefits.

The Preservation Board meeting is Monday, October 26, 2009, at 1015 Locust, 12th Floor, 4 p.m.


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