Emerson Park Neighborhood Revitalization Plan

[ Contents ]


The residents of the Emerson Park neighborhood believe that a truly "sustainable neighborhood" is one that is especially successful in raising caring, responsible, and healthy children and adolescents. It is one that supports the diverse makeup of families and cares for all individuals, families and elderly persons because they are a part of the neighborhood and community.

Emerson Park believes that a truly "sustainable neighborhood" is one that has a vibrant economic infrastructure that meets basis needs for adequate income, meaningful work, affordable housing, health care, and safety. Moreover, it provides humane and effective services and interventions for vulnerable families and their children as well as for families and children who simply need a limited amount of support. It aggressively works to reduce the environmental circumstances – poverty, racism, malnutrition, abuse, and violence – that threaten all residents, especially young people’s healthy development.

A neighborhood that truly meets the needs of its youngest generation to its oldest generation complements its strong economic infrastructure with a vibrant developmental infrastructure – that is, with neighborhood commitments and strategies that accentuate the positive building blocks of human development. In this community, children and adolescents, families and the elderly experience:

  1. Daily support and care provided by one or more involved, loving parents or other care givers;
  2. Sustained relationships with several non-parent adults in the community;
  3. A neighborhood where everyone knows, protects, listens to, and gets involved with the young;
  4. Opportunities to participate in developmentally responsive and enticing clubs, teams and organizations led by principled, responsible and trained adults;
  5. Access to child-friendly public places;
  6. Daily affirmation and encouragement;
  7. Intergenerational relationships, in which children and teenagers bond with adults of many ages and in which teenagers bond with younger children;
  8. A stake in community life made concrete through useful roles and opportunities for involvement;
  9. Boundaries, values, and high expectations consistently articulated, modeled, and reinforced across multiple socializing systems;
  10. Peer groups motivated to achieve and contribute;
  11. Caring school, congregations, youth-serving organizations, and other institutions; and
  12. Opportunities for frequent acts of service to others.

This kind of vibrant developmental infrastructure cannot be legislated or enforced by laws. It cannot be created by paid professionals or new programs. It cannot be "purchased" with public or philanthropic funds.

And although good families are essential architects for this infrastructure, this foundation cannot be created by families alone. Forming this foundation is the work of all the neighborhood residents and institutions. They are the ones who support, encourage, motivate, guide and empower young people through thousands of individual and group acts of caring and commitment. They are the ones who build relationships day by day that show children and adolescents that they are known, valued, listened to, and connected. In short, this vision of healthy neighborhoods focuses on creating a normative culture in which adults, organizations, and community institutions unite to take action guided by a shared vision of positive development.


On June 8, 1999 the Emerson Park Development Corporation resolved to:

  1. Integrate the Housing Strategy from the CDBG Plan into the Emerson Park Revitalization Plan, as it is in Chapter IV, Section F.
  2. Re-Assert support and enthusiasm for the Emerson Park Revitalization Plan and push forward on its implementation.
  3. Support the Emerson Park Development Corporation as a representative body leading community development efforts in the Emerson Park Neighborhood of East St. Louis.
  4. Move forward on the implementation of crime prevention programs, including:
  5. Move forward on the implementation of housing improvement programs, including:
  6. Expand the existing Youth and Family Development component of the Emerson Park Revitalization Plan to include the new Human Services proposals developed by Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House with special emphasis on jobs for all residents.
  7. The Emerson Park Development Corporation supports the goals, policies and process of the Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative as it relates to the implementation of the approved Emerson Park Revitalization Plan and looks forward to working closely with the Sustainable Neighborhoods Staff to implement the community development initiatives included in the Emerson Park Revitalization Plan.
  8. Present the Emerson Park Revitalization Plan with these resolutions incorporated into the document to the East St. Louis Planning Commission and East St. Louis City Council for formal adoption as the neighborhood plan for the Emerson Park Neighborhood of East St. Louis.
Document author(s) : Cathy Klump
Last modified: 23 September 1999, Deanna Koenigs