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Outreach Weekend Report

October 15-16 & October 22-23, 2004



by Justin Placek, ESLARP Outreach Weekend Assistant

On the weekends of October 15 and October 22, approximately 100 students and staff traveled down to East St. Louis to engage in different neighborhood projects. This was the first time in the last 5 years that we have had back to back work weekends. The ESLARP Team included students from Architecture, Landscape Architecture,Urban Planning, Library and Information Science, Social Work, and general volunteers. They worked with each other and with residents to complete eight different projects, which are discussed in detail below.

Landscaping Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center

by Justin Placek, ESLARP Outreach Weekend Assistant

On Friday Oct. 15 about 10 students worked with a few members of JJK to help landscape the entrance of the building. The site had been filled with dying and overgrown shrubs. Some of the students removed the dead shrubs from the site, while the others trimmed the remaining shrubs. Also, new mulch was placed around all of the landscape areas in front of the building.

41st Street Charette

Gary Kesler, Mike Andrejasich and two Landscape Architecture students met with members of the 41st St. neighborhood organization on October 15, to discuss schematic ideas regarding the large stip of land that is adjacent to the railroad tracks in the neighborhood. The residents want to turn this stip of land into a neighborhood park. This charette induced many design ideas regarding this area. These ideas were taken back to campus to be further developed. The 41st street neighborhood organization will use these design plans as assisstance and precendents as they talk to developers. Also, some of these ideas may become future work weekend projects, as the residents continue to beautify this area.

The Village Theatre Retaining Wall

by Justin Placek, ESLARP Outreach Weekend Assistant

This is an important sturctural design element and beautification project that will have to be completed on a couple of ESLARP Outreach work weekends. This retaining wall will be constructed in a terrace fashion by using recycled railroad ties and the existing earth that is on this particular part of the site. This wall will be a retaining wall that keeps the slope of dirt from sliding into the front of the theatre. In the spring this area will be fully landscape, which will enhance the beauty of the exterior spaces adjacent to the theatre.

The weekend of October 15 was the first phase in which students, staff, and Mr. and Mrs Fisher worked on constucting the first two terrace walls out of the railroad ties. Thus, the soil was terraced off and 4 X 4 posts were put into position. Then the railroad ties were set in place behind these post creating the wall. The first row of ties sits on the existing concrete slab and is two ties tall. The bottom row is connected to the the concrete by using L-shaped plates and screws. The second row of ties were placed 4 feet from the first row and is also two ties tall. Structural braces were then placed between the the first and second row to help prevent the ties from moving.

On the weekend of October 22 we finished constructing the retaining wall. We had to level out the dirt to create the the third row of ties. This row was 4 feet from the second wall and was constructed in the same fashion. The only difference is that this part contained 3 levels of railroad ties. Again braces were placed between this row and the second row. The only thing left is to place ribar vertically into the rows of ties to prevent movement. This will be completed on the next outreach weekend.

Emerson Park Data Collection

by Laura Knutson & Ted Massey

On Friday, Andrew Murray, Liz Thorstensen, and Laura Knutson met with Jeff Fields and Vickie Forby of EPDC to get a sense of what they wanted to see in the 2005 Emerson Park Revitalization Plan. On Saturday I helped the UP 260 students collect infrastructure data in Emerson Park by driving them around the neighborhood. The data collection covered street lights, manhole covers, sewer drains, and fire hydrants and was collected with the help of YouthBuild students.

Also, a group of UP260 students worked with the EPDC Youth Build students. The planning students are organizing a campus visit to UIUC for the Youth Build students who are interested in going on to college. On Friday morning we met with the Youth Build group at EPDC to get an idea of what they would like to see and do at UIUC.

Land of Lincoln Housing Assessments

by Kevin Rodenkirch

Participants: Kevin Rodenkirch, Kim Mulch, Alex Arango, Darlene Service, Mike Landgraf, Shana Dobrinski,Lynn Dearborn

Land of Lincoln is a not for profit service that works with the residents of East St. Louis to help protect their legal rights. In the past few years many cases of predatory lending have occurred to various recent home owners. These owners have been drastically overcharged for the properties that they have purchased. In addition, the houses that have been purchased are often far below legal codes and are in many cases unsuitable to live in. It was the task of the participants to work with Land of Lincoln by going into these houses and evaluating their condition. A report based on the findings will be created to asses what the problems of the home are, and to help determine what it will take to fix them and bring the homes up to code. On these two weekends six homes were evaluated.

Golden Gardens Cleanup

by Justin Placek, ESLARP Outreach Weekend Assistant

Approximately 12 students and resident volunteers worked Roosevlt Kincaid to begin to cleanup portions of the abandoned Golden Gardens School. This school was shutdown awhile ago due to many things and has begun to deterioriate due to the lack of maitenance. The future goal of the Golden Gardens School project is to work with Mr. Kincaid and the residents to try and obtain this structure and rehab into a place that could serve as a boys and girls club. Most of the people concentrated on removing overgrown weeds, saplings, and vines from the existing structure. While other worked on removing debris from the interior of the building.

More photos from the weekend.

Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 7 January 2004, Justin Placek