EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Outreach Weekend Report

March 8-9, 2002

Summary:

by Jassen Johnson

The East St. Louis Action Research Project hit the beaten path to East St. Louis once again for an action packed weekend March 8th and 9th, and due to the hard work and dedication of all the students, faculty, and staff the weekend was a complete success. The ESLARP team was comprised of 130 people, including classes and volunteers from the departments of Urban Planning, Architecture, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and Landscape Architecture. These students put their heads together and pulled off nine projects.

Contents:

Community Technology Center Site Surveys

by Martin Wolske

The lis315 class spent time visiting the sites at which they will be setting up computers this semester. Students spent aproximately 2 1/2 hours at their CTC site. About an hour was spent interviewing the site coordinator(s) regarding their vision for the facility, the community, and how the facility is looking to partner with the community. In addition, an understanding of the goals for use of technology within that vision was gathered.

The remaining time was spent:

In all, 6 sites were surveyed and will receive computers this semester.

Green Acres Mini Park

by Robert I. Selby, AIA

Our students in the collaborative studio/workshop met after lunch on Friday to review issues, to discuss individual interests and talents, and to form new 3-5 person interdisciplinary design teams. Based on these team's needs for more detailed understanding of the neighborhood faculty drove students, or students walked, to sites in the neighborhood.

On Saturday I lead a team to work at Green Acres Mini-Park, a two lot children's play area on either side of the Rev. Carl and Lilli Prude's house at 1807 Gay Ave. The Rev. Prude is the minister at Bride of Christ Church in Alta Sita. The Bride of Christ Community Outreach Mission was our "client" for this work. Despite bitter cold windy conditions we were able to assemble and "plant" 5 park benches, dig up three dead shrubs, plant three new shrubs. spread liquid fertilizer around trees and shrubs.

No one, not ANY one, complained about the work conditions even though it was extremely cruel weather. When necessary we retreated to the van or the Prude's garage to get out of the wind.

Hopewell Baptist Church

by Varkki George

On Saturday we painted the sanctuary of the Hopewell Baptist Church in the South End area. If I may say so, we did a terrific job! We started at 11a and by 4p we had painted the walls of the 40' x 70' sanctuary, as well as a small vestibule off the sanctuary. We had a great time doing it. In between, we spent some time talking about our experience the previous day, as well as ideas about how the work weekend experience could improve. We took several opportunities to mention to Rev. Price and his congregants about SENDO and the need to support and participate in its activities, as well about NTAC and the services it offers.

Lansdowne Neighborhood Plan

by Stacy Harwood

Student volunteers along with two Lansdowne residents distributed flyers door-to-door in the Lansdowne neighborhood on Sunday. The flyer include information about the Lansdowne Steering Committee meeting schedule as well as a letter to the residents about derlict houses in the neighborhood and the importance of resident participation in neighborhood's revitalization. Neighborhood leaders hope that this outreach effort will increase resident participation in the steering meetings.

Better Days Cemetery

by Craig Miller

Petitions Signed

by Varkki George

I was part of a group of seven, all the others were volunteers. We had three Architecture students, a Psych student, Richard Posner (School of Art and Design), and Wiebke Henning is an architecture student at the University of The Arts, Berlin. The original plan was to spend Friday afternoon engaged in team building exercises with EPDC's YouthBuild program, and to then join them on Saturday in canvassing neighborhoods for signatures in support of a petition to set up a charter school along the same lines as YouthBuild. The seven of us had a great time with about 40 YouthBuild students Friday afternoon, and we were pretty excited about going out with them on Saturday. Since the weather turned nasty, however, the canvassing was called off and on Saturday we painted the sanctuary of the Hopewell Baptist Church in the South End area.

Though I understand that another EPDC project is on the cards for our next trip, I believe the canvassing project must also be taken up. If possible, we should have 40 people from our side so that we can match the number of YouthBuild students. The YouthBuild program is developing very well, and we should investigate building further ties with their activities and our work weekends.

Lead Safe Yards

by Jan Phillips

Members of our GSLIS team joined other GSLIS students and NTAC team members on Friday and Saturday to beautify 8 yards in the area and provide a lead safe environment for children in the community. Our goal was to landscape all exposed sides of the houses with shrubbery and cypress (I think it was cypress!) mulch. Through a great team effort we completed all yards and shared the excess mulch with other neighbors in the area. Our efforts were extremely successful and intrigued passers by who are now interested in being considered for the project as well.

We gained a great deal from our endeavors as we bonded with classmates, met homeowners, neighbors and others in the community and teamed up with children in the neighborhood to complete this project. All in all, it was an excellent adventure! We appreciate the efforts made by faculty and staff to make this weekend such a great experience for the students.

South End Park

by Laura Lawson, Lynne Dearborn

On Saturday, we had two vans of architecture and landscape architecture students who helped clean up a small park in the South End. Even though it was freezing cold and started to snow, the students cheerfully set about clearing weeds from play equipment and paths. They created swing seats from 2x6 pieces of wood and repaired a bench. They students also measured the site so that they could plan effective improvements for the next work day.

After lunch, one of our vans went to another South End park to measure it, in hopes that it can also be improved during a later work day. The other van joined the lead abatement group. The day was very enjoyable. The students' enthusiasm and cheerfulness were truly inspirational!

Community Mission Child Care

by LaTonya Webb

Emerson Park Development Corporation History Project

by Stacy Harwood

UP374 students continued their semester long project on documenting the evolution of the Emerson Park Development Corporation. This work weekend, students interviewed staff members from the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House and Emerson Park Development Corporation.

More photos from the weekend.

Photos by Richard Prairie Posner.

Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 28 March 2002, Deanna Koenigs

EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT