EPA supports sustainable revitalization of historic St. Louis, Missouri neighborhood

Old North St. Louis is a neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri, less than 1 mile north of downtown. Beginning in the 1950s, this once-thriving neighborhood experienced decades of disinvestment and abandonment, resulting in a landscape of both vacant and occupied buildings interspersed among vacant lots.

The city of St. Louis envisions the redevelopment of Old North as a model for revitalizing a historic neighborhood in an environmentally sustainable way. In 2015, the city asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for technical assistance to turn that vision into an implementable plan. EPA assembled a consultant team to help develop overall neighborhood strategies and design options based on city, resident, and stakeholder goals.

In addition to strategies to improve the physical condition of the neighborhood, this report identifies options to improve residents’ social conditions, including general well-being, health, and economic opportunity. These options include new bike paths, community spaces, and job training programs. The options also include green infrastructure to manage stormwater near where it falls using the natural processes of soils and vegetation to capture, slow down, and filter runoff.

The neighborhood’s overall vision is one of revitalization, historic preservation, and environmental sustainability. This report illustrates strategies and design options that are the first steps towards creating a toolkit of improvements to capitalize on the grassroots efforts that have positioned the neighborhood for revitalization.

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, the neighborhood’s nonprofit revitalization organization, hosted a three-day workshop on August 25-27, 2015 that engaged residents, stakeholders, city officials, business owners, and community members to refine goals and explore options for redevelopment. The consultant team incorporated this input into a design option for each of the five study areas.

This report documents the outcome of that process and provides a comprehensive vision for sustainably redeveloping Old North St. Louis.

Download full EPA report (PDF) & see image credit.

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