ESLARP East St. Louis Action Research Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan

Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses

In order to obtain an accurate picture of existing conditions in Olivette Park, residents and the University of Illinois planning team collected an extensive set of data. The collection activities included archival research, a "windshield survey," a review of census information, an inventory of physical conditions of the neighborhood, a compilation of resident, business, and social service providers perceptions through personal interviews, and a day-long Olivette Park Neighborhood Summit. All data sets were reviewed and discussed at monthly meetings with residents and institutional leaders throughout the planning process. The information gathered from those six exercises is provided in full in volume one of this report, The Olivette Park Databook.

This chapter synthesizes the six data sets collected into the major strengths and weaknesses of Olivette Park. Supporting data from the sources mentioned above are provided for each strength and weakness listed. Residents confirmed the strengths and weaknesses at the neighborhood summit and made several additions to the initial list. These findings accurately summarize the conditions in Olivette Park and provide a framework for the initiatives recommended later in this plan.


1. Location

Olivette Park is located near the two growth centers of East St. Louis: the central business district and the waterfront. The central business district contains many of the city's commercial businesses, and the waterfront is home to the East St. Louis Casino Queen riverboat. This location allows Olivette Park to benefit from ongoing redevelopment activities occurring in these two areas. Further, State Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard form the southern boundary of the neighborhood, and Collinsville Avenue forms the western boundary of the neighborhood. These are main commercial thoroughfares in East St. Louis. Numerous vacant properties and buildings on those streets present opportunities for new businesses seeking a prime location.

Graphic: Map of Olivette Park in relation to CBD and waterfront.

2. Accessibility

Olivette Park has quick access to two interstates (I-64 and I-55/70) which link the neighborhood to regional resources in Illinois and Missouri. As mentioned above, the neighborhood is accessible within the city itself via State Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, major routes through East St. Louis. In addition, Olivette Park is located near a proposed light rail stop and contains several bus route stops, providing public transportation access to the neighborhood.

Graphic: Map of Olivette Park with interstates highlighted, and light rail stop noted. If we can get info about bus stops within Olivette Park, we might note those on the map.

3. Mixed Land Uses and Available Land

Olivette Park is primarily residential, but also contains a mix of commercial, social service, industrial, religious, and public land uses (see table 1 and figure 2.3). One-third of the parcels are residential, either single- or multi-family, and five percent are commercial or industrial. This provides residents with a mix of redevelopment options. In addition, there is a surplus of vacant land that could be used for redevelopment. According to the physical condition data, more than half of the parcels in the neighborhood are vacant. While vacant land poses many problems to the neighborhood in terms of lack of maintenance and illegal dumping, the land also presents a great opportunity. The future viability of the neighborhood is dependent upon finding creative and profitable uses for the substantial amount of vacant land.

4. Quality of Building Stock

Olivette Park contains an impressive stock of residential and commercial structures. The fact that 60 percent of the homes in the neighborhood were constructed with solid brick or stone attests to the overall high quality of homes. These structures have largely withstood the test of time, as more than 75 percent of the structures in the neighborhood were rated in good or fair condition in the physical condition survey. This is remarkable given the history of bank disinvestment that has plagued the city.

The neighborhood contains many large, historic homes, and there has been an increasing interest in historic preservation in Olivette Park. Many historic homes have been restored on or near Washington Place. Picture ____ provides a streetscape look at the wealth of historic homes on and near Washington Place. The Katherine Dunham Museum, at 10th and Pennsylvania, is listed on the National Historic Register(picture ____). While many of the historic homes in the neighborhood are currently vacant, close to 30 percent are suitable for rehabilitation. Restoring these old homes would preserve the historic character of the neighborhood while providing new housing opportunities. For example, Mrs. Lauren Parks-Goins and Mr. Rocco Goins restored a 22-room Victorian home at 502 Washington Place to its former grandeur. Their efforts have attracted others interested in completing similar renovations. The Goins have shared valuable information and experience about rehabilitation and financing techniques with other residents and provided numerous tours of their home. Picture ____ illustrates the outcome of the Goins' successful preservation efforts.

Graphic: photos of historic homes, perhaps Dunham Museum

Photo of apartment building bought by Joe Lewis and caption describing rehab.

5. Cultural and Educational Resources

Olivette Park contains many of the city's most important cultural, educational, and social service institutions. The Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum, located at 1005 Pennsylvania, contains Ms. Dunham's extensive collection of Haitian and African art and musical instruments, photos and costumes from her famed dance career, and mementos detailing a lifetime commitment to social activism and education. The GEMM Media Centre, at 575 N. 14th St., provides youth education programs and produces the East St. Louis Daily News cable program. The Christian Activity Center, 540 N. 6th St., serves 1,000 children a week through recreation, arts, and tutoring programs. Other important community institutions located in Olivette Park include: the East St. Louis Public Library, the Family Center, the Catholic Day Care Center, the East St. Louis Boys Club, the Salvation Army, and School District 189.

Graphic: Photos of community institutions, photo of kids playing at Christian Activity Center

6. Active Business Sector

Olivette Park contains many active, locally-owned businesses. Because of the neighborhood's locational advantages and accessibility, many businesses successfully operate along the main commercial thoroughfares surrounding Olivette Park. For example, Crusader Press, a nationally recognized minority-owned business, is located at 10th and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Some other locally-owned and operated businesses include the East St. Louis Monitor, the East St. Louis Daily News, Gibson Health Services, U-Haul, the East St. Louis Farmers Market, Taylor's Decorating and Hardware, Personal Touch Boutique and the Wonder Years Day Care.

A complete listing of neighborhood institutions, churches, and businesses with address, phone number, and contact person is provided in the Olivette Park Databook.

7. Religious Institutions

Olivette Park is home to at least 19 churches representing a range of denominations and sizes of congregations. About 15 of those churches have been involved in the planning project at various stages in the process. Some of the more active participants include: Bethel Christian Worship Center, East St. Louis Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, and Haynes Miracle Temple Church of Christ. Leaders from these and other churches participated in the Olivette Park Neighborhood Summit and volunteered to pass out fliers and make pulpit announcements for several Olivette Park Neighborhood Association events. Several religious institutions also offer youth services and programs in addition to their worship services

8. Community Involvement

Olivette Park residents display a high level of neighborhood and city-wide involvement. Within Olivette Park, residents have been actively involved in the Olivette Park Local Development Corporation and the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association. City-wide, residents from Olivette Park participate in the East St. Louis Cultural Coalition, a group working to establish a cultural district in Olivette Park, and the East St. Louis Community Action Network, a group working to unite neighborhood organizations and individual residents of East St. Louis around common goals and issues. Moreover, several Olivette Park residents completed an eight week class that met every Saturday in the Spring of 1995 to discuss the principles of community organizing sponsored by the University of Illinois.

The interest generated through The Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan attests to the strong desire and commitment of residents to improve Olivette Park. During this 10-month planning project, about 20 to 25 residents and institutional leaders on average attended monthly meetings concerning the plan. The residents of Olivette Park also demonstrated their commitment when 70 people turned out for the Olivette Park Neighborhood Summit at Frank Holton State Park. This continued dedication, combined with hard work and organization, will ensure the successful outcome of the plan.

Graphic: Photo of summit

9. Municipal Commitment

In recent years, the city has made a serious commitment to improving the quality of life in Olivette Park by sponsoring a community redevelopment planning effort and providing community block grant funds for needed infrastructure and community facility improvements. The city spent $30,000 of CDBG funds to acquire the East St. Louis Farmers Market site and an additional $30,000 in TIF funds for site improvements in 1993. In 1995, the CDBG Office awarded a $60,000 grant to the University of Illinois to create a comprehensive redevelopment plan for Olivette Park. In addition, members of the CDBG office and several other key public officials attended and voiced their support for neighborhood improvement at the Olivette Park Neighborhood Summit. The city made several other investments in Olivette Park through CDBG finances. For example, Gibson Health Services received a $100,000 grant to assist with development costs for their new building at 14th and State Street. CDBG's 1995 second quarter quarterly report also includes several infrastructure improvements for the neighborhood, including repairs on 6th Street and Summit Avenue. This work is to include street, sidewalk, curb, sewer, inlet, and lighting improvements. Sunken Park, located at Washington Place and Summit Avenue in Olivette Park, is on the list of parks scheduled for improvement using CDBG money.

This municipal commitment is likely to continue and expand in the coming months as the neighborhood implements this revitalization plan. Ms. Diane Bonner, director of the Community Development Block Grant program, has indicated that her office is eager to receive proposals emerging from this plan. Indicating her support of this democratic planning endeavor, Ms. Bonner stated that "We [CDBG] are committed to making some changes and improvements in the community, and we think the best way to do that is from the grass-roots."

10. History

Olivette Park has a rich neighborhood history. Once identified as "Quality Hill", many former mayors, industrialists, doctors, and lawyers called it home up until the 1950s. Many of the residences that housed the city's elite are still maintained and some have been splendidly restored. In addition, at least two important African American cultural figures are associated with the neighborhood, Miles Davis and Katherine Dunham. An elementary school in the neighborhood is named after the jazz musician, and Ms. Dunham's vision is carried out in the neighborhood through dance and youth programs held at the Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities. Ms. Dunham currently lives in Olivette Park.

Graphic: Photo of Ms. Dunham dancing? Photo of Miles Davis Elementary School

11. People

In a recent survey, residents consistently rated people as the neighborhood's number one strength. Demographically, Olivette Park is home to a rich mix of age groups, including 12 percent senior citizens and 35 percent children under 18 (see figures 2.6 and 2.7). The neighborhood also contains a substantial core of homeowners who take pride in the neighborhood. According to 1990 census data, more than 40 percent of occupied units in the neighborhood are owner occupied (see figure 2.8). Furthermore, 78 percent of the housing units were rated as either in good or fair condition.

A core of lifelong residents provides stability to the neighborhood. They have strong ties to Olivette Park, East St. Louis, and their neighbors. Many of these residents look out for each other and for the neighborhood. They maintain their properties and often nearby vacant properties as well. These residents welcome newcomers and look forward to transforming Olivette Park into a premiere East St. Louis neighborhood.

Insert Work weekend photo


1. Population Decline

The population declined in Olivette Park, in terms of individuals and households, more rapidly and severely than in East St. Louis as a whole. From 1970 to 1980, more than half of Olivette Park's residents left the neighborhood, compared to a 21 percent decrease in the city during that time period. From 1970 to 1990, the population in Olivette Park decreased by 67 percent, as compared to the 42 percent decrease in the city (see figure 2.9). Similarly, the number of households in Olivette Park decreased by 62 percent in the same two decades, as compared to the city's 42 percent decline in households (see figure 2.10). This dramatic decline has occurred in the context of population growth and suburbanization in St. Clair County. When the City of East St. Louis' population is subtracted from the county total, the number of individuals grew by 3 percent in the county, and the number of households increased by 26 percent.

Several factors help explain this severe population decline. First, as noted earlier, nine major industries closed during a period of 14 years, causing a loss of 13,000 jobs from 1960 to 1990. Many people followed these industries to the suburbs or left East St. Louis for jobs elsewhere. Second, the influx of African Americans seeking employment during the 1960s and 70s triggered "white flight" to the suburbs by many long-time East St. Louis residents. This white flight was exacerbated by bankers and developers who stood to make greater profits for large homes in the suburbs. The real estate and banking industry were also successful in utilizing government FHA loans to their benefit by taking advantage of the longer lending periods and reduced risk for suburban lenders. Lastly, "block busting" also likely contributed to the population decline in Olivette Park. Throughout East St. Louis, unscrupulous real estate agents convinced white homeowners that the value of their property was about to decline due to the influx of black homeowners into their neighborhood. White homeowners would sell their property for much less than market value to real estate agents, who then turned around and sold them at inflated prices to new African-American homebuyers.

This dramatic population decline threatens the stability and viability of Olivette Park. The tax base has shrunk, making it increasingly difficult for the city to maintain basic infrastructure and provide services. Furthermore, decreasing occupancy rates have led to more vacant and abandoned homes, which pose a health and safety risk for remaining residents. All of those factors have made it difficult to attract new homebuyers, to attract investment by local lenders, and to sustain neighborhood-oriented small businesses. Lastly, the declining conditions have made it difficult for community-based, non-profits to maintain a constant and adequate level of citizen involvement and financial support.

2. Poverty

Widespread poverty is one of the most alarming problems in Olivette Park. Poverty appears to be far more severe in Olivette Park than in the city as a whole. The number of Olivette Park families living below the poverty level has increased dramatically in 20 years, from one-third of the families in 1970 to one-half of the families in 1990 (see figure 2.11). In addition, nearly three-fourths of the female-headed households in the neighborhood are living in poverty (see figure 2.12).

The lack of jobs in East St. Louis and high unemployment have severely hampered the ability of Olivette Park residents to earn an adequate living. A total of 546 people in Olivette Park were employed in 1990, but 58.5 percent of those workers were only employed on a part-time basis. Olivette Park residents earned only 36 cents on the dollar to St. Clair County residents in 1990, compared to 44 cents on the dollar in 1970 (see table 2). Consequently, the percentage of households receiving public assistance doubled from 1970 to 1990, from 24 percent to 48 percent (see figure 2.13). Current federal proposals to change the structure of public assistance pose another substantial threat to the neighborhood.

3. Housing

Olivette Park experienced a dramatic decrease in the overall number of housing units from 1970 to 1990, as well as the number of occupied housing units (see tables 3 and 4). Both the number of housing units and the number of occupied housing units in the neighborhood decreased by nearly 60 percent in those two decades, according to the U.S. Census.

Remaining Olivette Park homeowners spend a disproportionate amount of their income on mortgage and housing-related expenses. Olivette Park homeowners, on average, spend more than half of their income to meet mortgage and related housing expenses. In East St. Louis, on the other hand, homeowners spend about one-third of their income, and homeowners in St. Clair County spend about one-fourth of their income on mortgage and housing-related expenses (see figure 2.14). Renters in Olivette Park also spend more of their income on rent than those in the city and county, spending 27 percent of their income on rent in Olivette Park, 17 percent in East St. Louis and 13 percent in St. Clair County(see figure 2.15). Many renters are not only paying more of their income for rent, but are often securing lower quality rental housing in the neighborhood than they would elsewhere

These high housing costs also often prevent owners from spending money on routine maintenance and improvements, which further erodes the value of the housing stock. A portion of these high housing-related expenses are accounted for by the high property tax rate in East St. Louis. The total property tax rate for FY 1993 was 13.4673 per $100 of assessed valuation. Despite efforts of state and local government to reduce the property tax rate (the property tax rate went down from 20.1334 in 1992 to 13.4673 in 1993), it remains one of the highest in the state, due to the city's modest tax base.

Residents also have related many stories about the high cost of homeowners insurance, or in some cases, the non-availability of homeowners insurance. This is due to adjacent derelict and burnt-out structures that pose an immediate danger to occupied homes. The data from a city-wide survey of sanitation code violations conducted by the East St. Louis Community Action Network (ESL CAN) in November 1995 verifies the high incidence of sanitation code violations and the resulting threats to adjacent property. ESL CAN found 94 properties in violation of the city's sanitation code in Olivette Park. Of those 94 properties, 39 properties contained derelict structures that must be demolished and 36 properties with deteriorated, but possibly salvageable structures.

Moreover, ESL CAN found 68 adjacent properties that were conforming to code and occupied. That finding is important because 68 property owners confront on a daily basis the threat of fire damage, the collapse of derelict structures onto their property and the possible cancellation of their insurance. The Illinois Insurance Commission stated that insurance companies have full legal rights to non-renew or mid-term cancel homeowners insurance if an adjacent property is deemed a threat. The Illinois Insurance Code does not narrowly define the reasons or justifications for cancellation and underwriters often take extreme liberties with the flexibility of the code. As mentioned earlier, Olivette Park contains 44.2% owner-occupied housing units. Undoubtedly, many Olivette Park residents consider home ownership a cherished and life-long investment and asset. Thus, the abundance of violating properties and the likelihood of cancellation of their insurance poses a serious problem.

4. Unemployment

In 1970, 88 percent of the neighborhood's civilian labor force was employed, as compared to 75 percent in 1990 (see figure 2.16). Lack of jobs was one of the highest concerns of residents surveyed, and 44 percent ranked available job training programs as poor or totally inadequate. The high rate of unemployment in Olivette Park is indicative of two major problems: low educational attainment and lack of jobs in East St. Louis. The difference in unemployment rate between Olivette Park and the county indicates that employment is available for people in the region with adequate education, skills, and transportation.

A high rate of unemployment, such as exists in Olivette Park and East St. Louis, tends to create other negative effects. Many unemployed people are unable to afford basic maintenance and improvements for their homes, and the quality of life in the entire neighborhood deteriorates. People who cannot afford to maintain their homes may be forced to abandon them, creating a health and safety threat for the entire neighborhood. Finally, people who are chronically unemployed tend to experience decreased self-esteem and may turn to crime, alcohol, and illegal substances. These occurrences tend to reinforce a negative physical and social environment and lessen the resolve of residents to work together for positive neighborhood change.

For those that are employed, a substantial number may be underemployed. In 1990 only 41.5 percent of the civilian labor force was employed full-time in Olivette Park compared to 55.7 percent for St. Clair County as a whole (see figure 2.17). Underemployment in the form of low-wage, low-benefit, part-time jobs results in some of the same problems as unemployment. Furthermore, the prospect of losing health care benefits--especially for children--may keep some family heads from entering the workforce, and thus continuing to rely on public assistance.

5. Low Educational Attainment

The percentage of high school graduates is increasing in Olivette Park, but it is still behind the city and the county (see figure 2.18). Similarly, the percentage of people with a bachelor's degree or higher is significantly below the city of East St. Louis and the county (see figure 2.19). This below average educational attainment is problematic given the increasingly higher educational levels required by regional employers. Olivette Park residents will find it difficult to compete for jobs against others from the city and the county with higher levels of educational attainment. People with less than a high school education are often disqualified from higher paying jobs and are often chronically unemployed or underemployed.

6. Unattended Property

The results of the physical condition survey revealed that 46 percent of the structures in Olivette Park are in good condition and nearly 60 percent of the lots in the neighborhood are mowed and clean (see figure 2.20). Despite the majority of people who actively maintain and improve their property, the neighborhood still suffers from a substantial number of unattended vacant lots, and the illegal dumping that often occurs on those vacant lots. A site condition survey revealed that nearly one-fifth of the parcels in the neighborhood--close to 350 properties--were unattended, that is, grass and weeds were more than one foot high and a substantial amount of trash had accumulated on the site. Nearly 150 of those unattended parcels contained more than one week's accumulation of trash (see figure 2.20 and 2.21).

Unattended lots pose a significant health and safety risk to residents. They provided a protected venue for illegal activities and decrease the attractiveness and security of the neighborhood. Lots that are unattended are often perceived as an open invitation for illegal dumping activities. Furthermore, unattended lots often become a breeding ground for disease-infested rodents and insects. Unattended lots with high weeds, trees, and trash isolate neighbors from each other, diminishing the sense of community in Olivette Park.

Property ownership records obtained from St. Clair County revealed that 279 (16.4 percent) of the parcels in Olivette Park are held in trusteeship by St. Clair County. This makes the County the largest controller of land in the neighborhood. Of those 279 County trustee properties, 13.2 percent are in violation of the City of East St. Louis' sanitation code. This poses a significant problem to the neighborhood because St. Clair County currently does not have a property management plan or maintenance program for county trusteeship property. The City of East St. Louis, which has the power to determine what to do with these properties, also has failed to take a pro-active role in bringing the land up to code and making it available for redevelopment.

The 27.6 percent of absentee property owners who own property in violation of the sanitation code also contributes to the high number of unattended lots and derelict structures in Olivette Park. These owners are more likely to only hold property for speculative reasons and therefore do not make any current improvements to their property. Absentee owners often do not have any ties to the community and, therefore, do not feel responsible for improving the neighborhood.

Land Use Map

7. Dilapidated and Dangerous Buildings

According to a building condition survey of the neighborhood, at least 83 parcels of land in the neighborhood contain derelict structures. Taking into account that some of these buildings occupy more than one parcel of land, it was determined that 68 structures need to be demolished. At least one-fifth of the structures in the neighborhood are unoccupied and unboarded (see figure 2.22 and 2.23). These derelict structures represent one of the most serious concerns of neighborhood residents surveyed. Despite the creation of a new city demolition program, more than 80 percent of residents interviewed rated the city's demolition efforts as poor or totally inadequate.

As mentioned earlier, derelict structures not only pose a public safety threat on their own, but also threaten adjacent conforming to code and occupied properties. Furthermore, they often function as havens for illegal activity and cause problems for nearby residents.

Graphic: GIS building condition map

8. Deteriorating Infrastructure

Residents of Olivette Park appear to be generally dissatisfied with the quality of infrastructure in the neighborhood, in particular, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks (see table 5). A physical survey of infrastructure conditions confirmed resident perceptions. Several streets in the neighborhood were in poor or deteriorated condition, curbs and sidewalks were missing or in deteriorated condition in several areas, and drains were missing at several intersections. The following maps describe the areas in which infrastructure must be improved.

Graphic: Maps showing results from infrastructure survey

9. Lack of Retail Services

Residents expressed overall dissatisfaction with the availability of retail services in their community, especially the lack of entertainment facilities, grocery stores, and discount stores. A December, 1993 report by the Financial Advisory Authority confirmed what many residents already knew: there simply are not enough retail outlets in the city to meet the needs of residents who must often leave East St. Louis to fulfill their basic needs. For example, the study indicated that East St. Louis had one general merchandise store, while cities of comparable size can generally support three to 15 such stores. The study also found that East St. Louis was lacking in every category of retail services, including hardware stores, apparel and accessory stores, furniture stores, food stores, automobile dealers, and gasoline service stations.1 A majority of the 90 Olivette Park residents surveyed confirmed that all but one of the services represented in Table 6 are needed in the community.

10. Crime

Crime poses a substantial threat to the stability and well-being of many East St. Louis neighborhoods, including Olivette Park. During personal interviews, Olivette Park residents identified crime--specifically those related to, drugs and gangs--as among the most worrisome issues in their neighborhood. Business owners interviewed also listed crime as a substantial concern. Data provided by the Illinois State Police, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the East St. Louis Police department suggest that these concerns about crime in the neighborhood and the city are well-founded. Despite a decline in many specific crimes and the overall crime rate in East St. Louis, the crime rate continues to be one of the highest in the state.(Eric, you can put this in whatever form you think works best)

source: Crime in Illinois, 1994. Illinois State Police.

1993 1994 % change

population 38,404 38,404 0

rate per 100,000 11,457.1 10,949.4 -4.4

total crime index 4,400 4,205 -4.4

murder 53 41 -22.6

criminal sexual assault 26 72 176.9

robbery 426 321 -24.6

aggravated assault/battery 1552 1552 0

burglary 797 896 12.4

theft 778 795 2.2

motor vehicle theft 744 510 -31.5

arson 24 18 -25

A comparison of crime rates in Illinois

(Crime rate = crime index/jurisdictional population x 100,000)

Population Crime Rate

East St. Louis 38,404 10,949.4

St. Clair County (without East St. Louis) 263,124 5,433.9

Springfield 106,429 10,050.8

Rockford 141,679 10,657.2

Chicago 2,768,483 10,278.7


Olivette Park is a neighborhood with many issues that must be addressed through an innovative and ambitious stabilization and improvement strategy. The neighborhood suffers from social, economic, and physical problems equal or worse in magnitude than the city of East St. Louis as a whole, including dramatic population decline, high unemployment, a lack of jobs, a high rate of poverty, and large numbers of families dependent on public assistance. Dangerous, dilapidated buildings and overgrown, unattended lots pose a serious health and safety threat to all residents, but especially children. These problems, coupled with the subsequent disinvestment by the public and private sectors, have devastated this once prosperous neighborhood.

Despite these problems, the neighborhood has many strengths that also must be considered in the improvement and stabilization plan. Olivette Park is strategically located near the city's two growth centers: the riverfront and the central business district. It contains a mix of land uses, including two commercial strips on the west and south borders of the neighborhood. This mix of land uses, combined with the large amount of vacant land, presents residents with a wide range of redevelopment options. Similarly, a large number of unoccupied residential and commercial buildings in the neighborhood are suitable for rehabilitation.

Most important are the cultural, educational, social service, and human resources the neighborhood possesses. The desire to preserve and protect those resources has prompted many residents to get involved in neighborhood improvement projects. The Olivette Park Neighborhood Association, which has been actively involved in the planning process, is poised to ensure the successful implementation of this plan and make the neighborhood a better place to live. The Olivette Park Neighborhood Association enjoys a wide base of community, city, and outside support. Within the neighborhood, the organization is supported by residents, church leaders, business leaders, and social service providers. In addition, local and state government officials are supportive of the goals of the organization and actively participated in the Olivette Park Neighborhood Summit. Finally, the University of Illinois East St. Louis Action Research Project will continue to provide technical and organizational assistance to the neighborhood for at least one year after the completion of this plan.

Olivette Park, one of the most important and visible neighborhoods in the city of East St. Louis, must not be allowed to continue on a path of deterioration. It is the first residential neighborhood most visitors to the city see upon their exit from the interstate system. Olivette Park is also the most visible for those traveling along the city's major commercial thoroughfares. It is, finally, a neighborhood where a majority of city-wide service agencies are located. Olivette Park can and should be restored to its former status as a premiere residential neighborhood. Local community development efforts, combined with support from local government and outside agencies, should prove successful in rejuvenating Olivette Park.

1 East St. Louis Financial Advisory Authority. Comparison of Current East St. Louis Business Portfolio. December, 1993.

Document author(s): Angie Morgan, Eric Stoller
HTML by: Abhijeet Chavan
Last modified: June 26, 1996

Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan

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