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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

December 9, 2015


It's Time to Steal the Indy Cultural Trail

By Alex Ihnen, owner and editor of

Completed in 2012, the $63M 8-mile multi-use trail was funded by $27.5M in private and philanthropic support, and $35.5M from federal transportation grants. A recent study has found that since the project announcement and groundbreaking in 2007, property values within 500ft of the trail have increased by 148%, or more than $1 billion.  The trail has increased revenue and traffic for businesses along the route. The average trail user spends $53 at local businesses. 95% of users feel safe using the trail.

The Cultural Trail has been a huge success. Beyond the numbers, it has helped to change the perception of Indianapolis as a city. The trail has put a new face on Indianapolis, encouraging human-scaled exploration of the city by locals and visitors alike. There’s new residential infill, private investment, and a greater awareness of the city’s cultural assets and urban neighborhoods. Planners from Cologne, Germany to Miami, Florida have traveled to Indianapolis to study this success. St. Louis should do this.

To read the full commentary, click here.

We invite readers to contribute to the civic conversation about community development in St. Louis by writing an op-ed for the Community Builders Exchange. Op-eds should be short (400-700 words) and provocative. If you have an idea for an op-ed, contact Todd Swanstrom at
Happy Holidays from the CBN Team
The Community Builders Exchange is taking a break on December 23rd, but will return on January 6. All of us at the Community Builders Network wish you a Happy Holiday Season!
-Todd Swanstrom, Karl Guenther, Jenny Ryan, Angela Early, and Daniel Hutti

Nomination Forms Available for the 2016 CBN Awards Reception
We are pleased to announce that the 4th Annual Community Builders Network Awards Reception will take place next year on March 31! The Annual CBN awards reception recognizes individuals, organizations, companies, and institutions that help make St. Louis a better place to live. If you know of someone who deserves recognition, fill out one of our nomination forms. The last day to submit a nomination is February 15. For more information about the nomination process, click here.

Foundation is Being Laid for St. Louis 'Promise Zone'
Back in August, HUD Secretary Julian Castro came to St. Louis to announce the designation of St. Louis as a Promise Zone. Last week, St. Louis Public Radio shared this article with an update on this designation, including the formal rollout which is expected to begin next month. For more information on this designation and what it could potentially mean for parts of the St. Louis region, click here.

Curb Appeal and Infrastructure in the Shaw Neighborhood
Last month, the blog St. Louis City Talk shared this post on some exciting infrastructure improvements that have been implemented in the Shaw Neighborhood. The improvements include new and inviting crosswalks, curb bump-outs, new trash receptacles, and ADA compliant ramps. In addition to describing the improvements, the post references an interview with Sean Spencer of Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC, a CBN member. To see more of the impressive developments taking place in this neighborhood, click here.

TGNCDC Looks to Build on Success with Five year Strategic Plan
Last month, Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC partnered with Rise Community Development to develop a new strategic plan for TGNCDC with an updated mission statement, goals and strategies. Included in this new strategic plans are goals committing the CDC to the long term stability and growth of the community as well as building coalitions with community partners. For more information on this new plan, click here.

Educators, neighborhoods groups aim to revive Wellston Loop area
In late November, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shared this article highlighting the recent "Wellston Loop Family Reunion and Exhibit." This event took place in the old JC Penney's store on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. While the event looked back at the history of the area, its aim was more forward looking. Historic preservationists and a group from Washington University hope the event will spur more interest and investment in the area. For more on this story, click here.

A St. Louis Organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities
On November 30, shared this article interview with Chris Krehmeyer of Beyond Housing, a CBN member. The interview discusses the work of Beyond Housing, which includes the 24:1 initiative, the Passport to Public Health program and its business development. The article also probes into how Beyond Housing engages the community in its efforts. To read the full interview, click here


What's Brewing? West End
Join Creating Whole Communities on December 10 for the next session of the What's Brewing? series. This session will feature the emerging neighborhood, the West End. For more information and to register, click here

(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization
Join Smart Growth America for this webinar on best practices for bringing people back into neighborhoods. The webinar begins at 12pm on Monday December 14. For more information and to sign up, click here

Greening Vacant Lots as a Community Revitalization Strategy
On Thursday December 17, the US. EPA is hosting this webinar on best practices related to vacant lot greening. This webinar will run from 1pm to 2:30pm. For more information and to register, click here.

Save the Date: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Conference

On Februrary 5th and 6th, CREA, a CBN member, will co-host this conference in partnership with EHOC and SLU Law. Save the date and stay tuned for more details!

Affordable Housing & Mixed Income Community Management
Registration is open for this professional course until December 22. The course is hosted by the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University and will run from January 4 through January 8. For more information and to register, click here.  

Building an Effective Fundraising Organization
Between January 22 and September 23 of 2016, the Brown School of Social Work is hosting a CEO seminar series on how to build an effective fundraising organizations. This seminar series is intended for organizations with annual revenues between $500,000 and $2 million. For more information, click here.

Economic Development Certificate
The University of Missouri St. Louis School of Public Policy and Administration along with other partners is offering a Chancellor's Certificate in the Fundamentals of Economic Development from January-March of 2016. For more information, click here.  


December 12
5th Annual Holidays in Old North

Through December 23
Images of Grace at the RAC


The Community Builders Exchange would like to highlight a map relevant to community development in each issue. Please let us know if you have a map that would be of interest to our readers.

In this week's edition of the Community Builders Exchange, we are sharing several maps of job concentrations in St. Louis. To see how job concentrations have changed over the past decade, click here. To view maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange, click here



The St. Louis Community Builders Exchange is a partnership between the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, the St. Louis Home Repair Network, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to bring you quality up-to-date community development information. Look for the St. Louis Community Builders Exchange every other Wednesday morning!

Citizen's Institute on Rural Design RFP
The Citizen's Institute on Rural Design has issued an RFP for a $10,000 cash grant and in-kind technical assistance support to support community development efforts in small towns of 50,000 people or less. The deadline to apply for this opportunity is January 12. For more information, click here.

Fresh, Local and Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization
The Kresge Foundation is offering funding for organizations and collaboratives that are working to make fresh and local food more accessible in economically distress neighborhoods. Grants are available for up to $75,000. The deadline to submit a proposal is January 15. For more information, click here (link opens a PDF).

Partners for Places Funding Round Eight
The Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities is offering the eighth round of Partners for Places funding. The aim of this grant is to build partnerships between local governments and place-based organizations. Applications for this grant are due by January 29. For more information, click here.

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreement Program
The EPA is accepting proposal packages for funding of $120,000 for community-based efforts that address local environmental or public health issues. The deadline to submit a proposal is February 12. For more information, click here.

Equifax/Washington University Grant Opportunity
A group of Washington University students in collaboration with the Equifax Foundation are providing $15,000 in funding to 501(c)3 organizations working in the South Jefferson area. Eligible organizations must have a programmatic focus on health (including food access), early childhood development, after school and youth programs, and/or housing. Programs must benefit the South Jefferson footprint, which includes Fox Park, Benton Park West, or McKinley Heights neighborhoods. To obtain the RFP, applicants should send an email of inquiry to

Volunteer Services Manager
Habitat for Humanity is seeking a Volunteer Services Manager to work with programs that recruit, train and support volunteers, AmeriCorps workers, and interns. For more information about this position, click here.

Health Worker and Community Advocate
DeSales Community Housing Corporation is hiring a part time Health Worker to help local families make healthier lifestyle decisions. The position is expected to work 30 hours weekly and the starting date for this position is January 30. For more information, send an email to Lindsay at or a text to 954-892-1620.

The Economic Development-Vibrant Center Connection: Tracking High-Growth Firms in the DC Region
The Professional Geographer recently published this article on the connection between neighborhood vibrancy and economic growth. The paper measures vibrancy in terms of density, access to transit and destinations, land use diversity, and urban design. The paper, which focuses on Washington DC, finds a close correlation with vibrant neighborhoods and economic growth. In late November, City Lab from The Atlantic magazine, shared an article describing its findings. To read that summary click here. To read the full publication, click here.
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