[ Update ]
This semester the East St. Louis Action Research Project is committed to community development efforts in the Alta Sita neighborhood. As part of these ongoing efforts, Outreach Weekend #2 was dedicated to data collection and physical improvement projects in Alta Sita. Over sixty volunteers from UP 378, ARCH 374, LA 338, SOC 299 and UP 199 joined ESLARP's efforts on March 26th and 27th. The volunteers worked on the following projects.
Since January, student volunteers have been assisting Pastor Carl and Lillie Prude with the renovation of the Bride of Christ's basement. Past projects have included drywalling and painting the bathrooms and ceilings in the basement, repairing walls in smaller rooms and cleaning the space to turn it into a bright and beautiful community space, almost as gorgeous as the rest of Carl and Lily's church. This outreach weekend may be the last time this season that students work at the Church. They completed renovations to the basement walls and installed a baptismal pool in the main part of the church.
One of the greatest landmarks and strengths in the Alta Sita Neighborhood is Virginia Park. This beautiful park is approximately six acres and is adjacent to the historic Virginia Place homes and the Alta Sita Neighbors, Inc. walking trail and mini-park. In recent years the East St. Louis Park District, the University of Illinois, Alta Sita Neighbors, Inc. and the Urban Resources Partnership Program have made improvements to the park. The improvements include new play apparatus, landscaping and a pavilion designed and build by Prof. Jeffrey Poss's architecture studio.
At the request of ASNI, a handful of volunteers led by Tom Shields, ESLARP Project Coordinator picked up trash in Virginia Park on Saturday. The volunteers were joined by local children - the most frequent uses of the facilities.
Recent land use surveys and Code Enforcement efforts by the East St. Louis Community Action Network note a high number of illegal dumping sites in Alta Sita and also in surrounding Centerville Township. The dumps typically consist of medium-weight trash that has been dumped there due to a lack of trash collection or property owner negligence. At the request of ASNI and Centreville Township, volunteers from ESLARP cleared ten trash-filled lots (or alleys) and planted grass seed in some areas. The volunteers were joined by local kids and piled the trash in large garbage bags to be picked up at the curb by a private hauler. One volunteer commented that he "never knew picking up garbage could feel so good!"
Students enrolled in UP 378 and SOC 299 interviewed a dozen social service, municipal and business leaders in the Alta Sita Neighborhood on Friday and Saturday. The survey had three objectives:
The information gathered from these interviews will be used in the Neighborhood Improvement Plan.
Student volunteers walked and drove around the Alta Sita neighborhood collecting information about street, curb and sidewalk condition; number and condition of street lights, manholes, street drains, etc. Volunteers successfully collected information for just over 300 street segments.
This data will be scanned in and joined to digital street maps. It will be analysed for use in the Neighborhood Improvement Plan.
Document author(s) : Cathy Klump
Last modified: 20 April 1999, Deanna Koenigs