Reinvigorating local economies

photo: girl helping with shopping at Old North Grocery Co-op

Since 2000, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, University of Missouri Extension and University of MissouriSt. Louis have partnered to develop a set of initiatives that have contributed to creating a healthy, dynamic and sustainable community. 

  • Projects have included development of home ownership and housing revitalization tools, a bike/walking tour, neighborhood DVD and community museum and capacity building and strategic planning support for the local development corporation.
  • With increased capacity and partnerships, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has overseen recent community revitalization comprised of new home construction and a $35 million redevelopment project.
  • Residents have gained access to locally grown fruits and vegetables through the development of a farmers market, a community garden and a new grocery cooperative. The new co-op has provided one full-time and two part-time jobs and contracts with about 10 small businesses to supply local coffees, ice cream, fresh produce and other products — adding vendors monthly. 

Graduates of the MU Extension Community Development Academy are involving citizens in planning and implementing community programs such as increasing school funding; leveraging local foundation funding for county extension programs; creating new economic development partnerships; developing and financing infrastructure projects; and increasing volunteer commitments. Students participating in CDA report finding jobs with the skills acquired.