EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

Outreach Weekend Report

October 2-3, 1998

While ESLARP always does important and inspiring work, there are certain moments and memories that may last a life time. The ESLARP WorkWeekend of October 2-3 was one such memory. On Saturday Afternoon, everything seemed to be running smoothly. The A-1 rental tools were returned on time. The projects were finishing up, when late in the day at the two homes in Emerson Park, the top soil arrived. There was clearly too much work for the small team of students lead by Cathy Klump and Yong Wook Kim. But, then magic happened. Each of the other three teams of volunteers, instead of going home on time at the end of their work, joined together to even the soil, spread seed and cover it with straw. It is such an experience that demonstrates the power of personal "Synergy" when whole is greater than the sum of our parts. Thank you to everyone who put in the extra effort to make magic this weekend!

Contents

Landscaping in Emerson Park

by Cathy Klump

This past July hundreds of volunteers from the East St. Louis area and from al over the midwest, built two single family homes in Emerson Park. The "Blitz Build" project was part of the Neighborhood Based Family Housing Program. By using hundreds of volunteer laborers, low interest rates, and an affordability subsidy from the City, two families have now secured mortgages on these two brand new homes.

The families moved in during the first week of September. At that time, the houses sat on a pile of dirt. During the weekend of October 2 - 3, five volunteers leveled the front and back yards of the two homes, planted grass seed, fertilized, landscaped the front of both homes, and planted trees. The five volunteers and staff who gave of their time to beautify the two new homes include: Michell Parisi, Taka Chatihaka Rowe, Geannette Mendez, Jason Shlau and Lora Edwards. Staff supervising the project were: Deanna Koenigs, Yong Wook Kim, Cathy Klump

The volunteer efforts were assisted by Dameon White, a resident of one of the houses and by Henry Peete, Vice-President of the Emerson Park Development Corporation. All materials were secured by Joe Hubbard of Catholic Urban Programs. On Saturday morning the homeowners, Drucella Banks and Candice White provided a delicious breakfast for the volunteers.

The work weekend ended with over 50 volunteers meeting at the Emerson Park site to help finish the grass seeding before returning back to Champaign. For more information about future "Blitz Builds" or upcoming work weekends, please contact ESLARP at 217/265-0202.

Alta Sita Lot Clean-up

by Raja Shankar

The group at Alta Sita was led by Bob Selby. Raja Shankar was the research assistant in this group. There were 8 volunteers in this group. They had two jobs. One, to clear two lots separated by three houses, and also to clear the back alley to create a thoroughfare between the lots.

The other job was to repair the porch of a residence in the neghborhood, and to clean her lot. The group managed to finish both the jobs. The first day was spent at the first site, where the volunteers cleared the lots of garbage and cut through vegetation and fallen trees to create a thoroughfare through the back alley. The porch repair was carried out on the second day to the satisfaction of the owner.

Centerville Lot Clearance for Public Safety

by Tom Shields

The Centerville Site was an opportunity to work on both public safety and lot clearance. In a small corner house, a senior citizen woman lived alone, invisible to her neighbors due the overgrown brush in the vacant lots surrounding her home. UIUC volunteers from VIP, Sociology and Men of Impact, led by Ken Reardon and Tom Shields spent two days clearing trees, brush and mowing lawns. The work was difficult, but the hearty crew of students working with three residents including Rodney Lewis, Centerville Alderman, eliminated a grove of trees which left an area invisible to police and attracted suspected criminal activities.

Emerson Park Rental Rehabilitation

by Tom Shields

Mike Andrejasich lead his studio students in a truly hands-on design build project. Students reported learning more in that day than in most classes. In particular they referred to the integration of classroom learning - brining lessons in foundation and design together into one project. Although there was much more demolition that needed to occur than expected, these students were able to make significant progress toward four new units of housing.

Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 24 November 1998, Deanna Koenigs

EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT