[ ARCH 372, LA 236/338, UP378 Spring 2003 ]

Good Neighborhood Project

South End as Center Neighborhood

Our vision is to transform the South End into the Heart of East St. Louis by creating a thriving social and economic center that improves the quality of life for residents and attracts people from outside the neighborhood. Our goal for the South End is that it will serve as a successful model of redevelopment for other neighborhoods in East St. Louis.

Characteristics of a Center City Neighborhood

In a center city neighborhood there are key elements that make-up this environment. An important component to all center city neighborhoods is a lively streetscape. A mixture of dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation help to bring in visitors from outside the neighborhood, contributing to the diverse atmosphere. Due to the influx of people, the area is constantly changing and evolving, requiring public transportation. The center city is also a great place to live due to the parks and plazas facilitating interactions within the active community. Increased housing density with close proximity to a lively nightlife appeals to young couples and professionals.

Development Proposal and Strategies

The boards presented are separated into five main points. These include the following:

  1. Miles Davis Plaza: Develop the open space around the highway exit into a plaza complete with rows of tree and a space for public art display.
  2. Lincoln Park: Revitalize this important community asset by redeveloping it as a civic center and gathering place for generations to come.
  3. Pedestrian Bridge: Restore the old Route 66 walking bridge to an active social and entertainment attraction.
  4. 10TH Street Market: Develop 10TH Street into a lively business district and emphasize its importance as a connection to downtown East St. Louis.
  5. Residential Neighborhood: Increase overall density with a mix of new single and multifamily structures woven into the existing residential zones.

The residents' needs were addressed regarding the six areas identified in The 2002 South End Revitalization Plan. These areas include streetscape and infrastructure; parks and open space; community safety; community services; commercial revitalization; and housing development.

Streetscape and Infrastructure:

All basic utility infrastructures are improved including sewer, storm sewer, manhole covers, sidewalks, potholes, and road repaving. Also, a uniform streetscape scheme was developed including lights, banners, trash receptacles, and planters were utilized to differentiate the South End from other neighborhoods. Visual examples of these additions are represented throughout the boards. Additional parking will be located in vacant lots within a short walk of Lincoln Park. These amenities will promote pedestrian safety and encourage civic responsibility.

Park and Open Space:

Lincoln Park will be redeveloped as a civic center and as a neighborhood-gathering place. Amenities designed for the park include benches, light posts, improved sidewalks, playground equipment, basketball courts, plaza with fountain, improved swimming pool, and tree-lined walkway. These improvements will help make Lincoln Park a more utilized recreational area. As shown in some of the sketches, the plan will include additional trees planted in the right-of-way, vacant lots, and existing mini-parks, to improve urban forestry.

Community Safety in the South End:

The improved lighting along all streets and public spaces, will improve community safety. Pedestrian presence and a stronger sense of community will deter illegal activities such as illegal dumping.

Community Service:

The new community center in Lincoln Park will provide space for adult education services, organized youth activities, and senior programs. In addition, the Route 66 Bridge Museum will provide historical educational opportunities for residents in the East St. Louis area along with tourists.

Commercial Revitalization:

The plan located revitalization along 10th Street. A variety of commercial ventures including filling stations, grocery stores, laundry mats, restaurants, general retail stores, and entertainment opportunities will be located here. People who already come to the South End to attend neighborhood churches will have opportunities to dine in restaurants and shop along 10th Street. The lively commercial environment will also attract residents from the entire East St Louis area.

Housing Development:

Density will be increased in residential areas through a mixture of single family, duplex, and 4-plex housing units. Housing clusters will be located around parks, such as Lincoln Park. New housing will infill existing vacant lots and is marketed to new urban professionals.