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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

May 27, 2015

FROM THE FIELD

Let’s Make Good Governance the Goal in Municipal Reform

By Chris Krehmeyer

As a region we have talked for many years about the number of municipalities in St. Louis County and how it just seems like too many. Ironically, one of the only issues that we have moved quickly to a degree of consensus on from the Michael Brown tragedy is municipal government reform. With the pushing of Better Together and the Arch City Defenders, our state legislature is moving quickly to change the rules on how municipal governments across the state must function.  For example, the Missouri Legislature passed a law limiting the amount of city budgets in St. Louis County that can come from traffic fines to 12.5 percent.  I will be the first to acknowledge that some reforms are needed to ensure efficient, just and fair delivery of all municipal services. But instead of telling municipalities what they can and cannot do, we should ask the citizens what they want and work with existing leaders for better governance.

What I have not heard from the many voices in this conversation is what actually constitutes good governance for our 91 municipalities in the County and all the other political jurisdictions across the state. Should not that be the goal of all this work?

To read the full op-ed, 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 swanstromt@umsl.edu
 
The Architecture and Design of Affordable Housing
How can more low income communities become "opportunity rich?" This newscast from New Hampshire Public Radio features commentary from Jamie Blosser and Kathy Dorgan on leveraging better designed affordable housing and place-based developments for improving community outcomes. To read or listen to this newscast, click here.  


Scholar Alan Mallach links inequality in Cleveland and other cities to tensions over policing
This article from Cleveland's The Plain Dealer describes a recent presentation by Alan Mallach of the Flint Center on "Reinvestment and Displacement in Post-Industrial Cities." His presentation spotlights the revitalization of so-called 'Legacy Cities,' which includes St. Louis. While 'Legacy Cities' are revitalizing, this growth is occurring in pockets while larger areas of the city remain in decline. To read the full article and to see Mallach's presentation, click here.   


How Cities Are Starting To Turn Back Decades of Creeping Urban Blight
The costs of urban blight are well known across US cities, and especially in 'post-industrial' cities. Cities have enlisted various strategies to reverse the consequences of high vacancy rates, such as offering payment to residents who care for vacant lots. This article from the Washington Post describes a recent study showing how cleaning and greening blighted and vacant properties benefits communities. To read the full article, click here.  


Making Sense of the New Economy: Rethinking Community Economic Development
This post from Rooflines' Shelterforce Blog stresses that in the 'new economy' place-based initiatives must enlist more holistic strategies for improving community wealth than just home ownership. The post points to mixed use development, "community-based business development", and confronting racial and social hierarchies as examples needed place-based strategies in the 'new economy.' To read the full blog post, click here.


 

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS

Community Action Forum: Investing in Coordinated School Health
On May 28, the For the Sake of All project is presenting this forum on improving health outcomes for K-12 students in area communities. This forum is free to attend, but registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.

St. Louis Leadership Symposium
On Tuesday, June 2, the City of St. Louis' Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host the 1st Leadership Symposium on "Investing in the Potential and Sharing the Values of Community Leadership." This event will feature several prominent speakers, including Anna Crosslin of the International Institute, Tony Thompson of the KWAME Building Group, Michael McMillan of the Urban League, and Nicole Adewale of ABNA. For more information on this event, click here.

St. Louis Earth Day Symposium
The St. Louis Earth Day Symposium is slated for June 3rd at St. Louis University's Il Monastero from 8am - 5:30pm. For more information and to see the call for poster, click here.


More Choices for More Families
The Poverty and Race Research Action Council, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is hosting the 6th Annual National Conference on Housing Mobility. This two day conference will take place July 15 through July 16 in Chicago. For more information about this conference and to register, click here.


Fifth Annual MOWHA Conference
On Wednesday, July 8, the Missouri Workforce Housing Association will host its fifth annual conference in Kansas City. This 3 day conference will feature events for those working with or interested in Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Affordable Housing programs. For more information on this conference, click here.

 

TRAINING & WORKSHOPS

Meet the Donor - Funder Strategies: Updates and Information
On Wednesday May 27, the Gateway Center for Giving is featuring this panel discussion with local funders on ways to improve their community impact. This discussion will take place at the Missouri History Museum from 3:30 to 5pm. For more information and to sign up, click here.

Health Home Workshop
Nurses for Newborns is hosting this seminar on Friday, June 5 at the Engineer's Club on 4359 Lindell Blvd. This seminar will feature keynote speaker Kevin Kennedy and several breakout sessions to focus on home health and safety. For more information and to register, click here.


Special Taxing Districts
The Community Builders Network is hosting a training on creating and managing special taxing districts on June 16th. To register for the training, click here.

Volunteering Across the Life Span: Engaging Volunteers of All Ages
This June 26th training by UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program is part of the Chancellor's Certificate on Volunteer Management. This course will focus on issues from recruitment to training to retaining volunteers of different ages. For more information and to register, click here.

EVENTS

WHO WE ARE

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!

Safe Places To Play Grant
The U.S. Soccer Foundation is accepting applications for its Safe Places to Play grant. This grant is awarded to programs that support soccer programs and soccer fields in urban areas. Letters of intent are due by May 29 and the deadline to apply is June 5. For more information on this grant, click here.

Farmers' Market SNAP Support Grant
The USDA has funding available to help facilitate the use of SNAP services at Farmers' Markets. Applicants can receive awards ranging between $15,000 and $250,000. The deadline to apply is June 18. For more information, click here.

 

Resource Development Administrative Assistant
Habitat for Humanity is seeking a Resource Development Administrative Assistant to assist Resource Development staff in receiving gifts and donations and to manage the donor and volunteer database. The deadline to apply for this position is Friday, May 29 at 5pm. For more information, click here.

Capacity Building VISTA
St. Vincent Greenway, Inc. and Great Rivers Greenway are seeking a full-time Americorp VISTA to build capacity for community development projects and programs along the St. Vincent Greenway. The deadline to apply is June 5. For more information about this position, click here.


Neighborhood Greenways Facilitation Consultant
Trailnet is seeking a consultant to assist the Neighborhood Greenways program in facilitating 5 three hour Project Committee sessions. Interested applications should send in their information by June 19. For more information, click here.

An Equity Assessment of The St. Louis Region
A new report from the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri St. Louis finds that racial inequality in the St. Louis region leads to costs in educational attainment,  employment and wages, and home ownership. The report finds that if racial minorities earned the same as whites, the St. Louis regional economy would gain nearly $14 billion. Nationally, GDP would increase by over $2 trillion. To read the full report, click here.
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