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Outreach Weekend Report

February 11-12, 2005


by Justin Placek


Inventory of Parks and Open Spaces in East St. Louis

by Laura Lawson, Landscape Archtitecture Professor

Sixteen landscape architecture students, one planning student, 3 RAs, and myself spent the weekend conducting an inventory of park and potential park spaces in East St. Louis. We started on Friday with a tour of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center. Robert Blanchard from the JJK staff gave the tour and pointed out concerns related to the grounds and recreation facilities. Students did some sketching and took measurements for future work. We then met with Edgar Ellis, president of the 41st Street Corridor neighborhood organization to discuss a potential park. We toured the site - a long strip of vacant land next to a railroad corridor that the group has arranged to lease from the railroad. Students shared some of their design ideas with Mr. Ellis. We intend to meet with the 41st. Corridor neighborhood association at the next outreach weekend.

On Saturday, the students started out early to conduct fieldwork at the Jones Park Fountain. Students took measurements and started development tentative design ideas. We then went back to 41st St. to conduct door-to-door questionnaires and to finish up site analysis. After lunch, we went back to Jones Park to meet with representatives of the Emma L. King Wilson Foundation, a family foundation that intends to restore the fountain. Emma King Wilson raised 12 children in East St. Louis. Eight of the twelve, plus in-laws and grandchildren were present. Students informally presented some of their initial design ideas for feedback. We intend to meet with them again at the next outreach weekend.

Community Concepts Database

by Eric Hadley-Ives, Social Work Professor

Community Concepts had hundreds of lottery tickets with names and contact information, and wanted to turn this pile of tickets into a useful database. After several hours of data entry and sorting through the tickets, students from the community organizing class had entered over 450 names into a data base, removed duplicate counts, and prepared the database for future use. Students also worked with the American Bottom Conservancy to prepare educational materials for a demonstration to alert the public of a key vote on the misnamed "Clear Skies" environmental legislation. Taking a break from the data entry on Saturday during lunch the students observed the demonstration and found environmentalists who were interested in working with Community Concepts on a documentary about environmental justice in the East St. Louis area.

Land of Lincoln Housing Assessments

On Saturday, a group of architecture students did three housing assesments for the Land of Lincoln.

Physical Conditions & Metro Link Survey

by Laura Knutson, Urban & Regional Planning

During the first Spring work weekend our class met with several key people in the community to ask them questions to gain a better perspective on what is going on in the neighborhood and how it can be changed. We started out at the YouthBuild Charter School where we met with several students that we had worked with last fall. Next we had a working lunch with EPDC's board and residents of the community. Several students met with EPDC's housing division manager, Jeff Fields, and a representative from RHCDA to discuss housing and economic development. The next day we spent getting to know the physical component of the neighborhood. We drove the streets of Emerson Park noting non-residential structures, whether or not they were in use, what kind of use, taking pictures, and noting the address. Later a group of students went around and asked the owners or operators of the businesses about their business, costumers, and building space. On Sunday five of us attended 15th Street Baptist and Miracle Revival Tabernacle in Emerson Park. Monday morning we surveyed MetroLink riders from 6:15 until 8:00. At 10am we met with incredible members of the East St. Louis police force. We ate lunch at the Casino Queen and then went on a tour of the MetroLink. The trip ended with a meetings with EPDC and YouthBuild Charter School Board.

More photos from the weekend.

Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 20 April, 2005 by Justin Placek