EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT

[ Update ]

ESLARP '98/'99 Activities

Summer Activities

1. Spring "Blitz Build"- Tom Shields coordinated a group of fifteen students and two faculty members who assisted the Faith-Based Housing Network of East St. Louis to complete the construction of two new homes in the Emerson Park Neighborhood of ESL.

2. Parsons Place Project- The Emerson Park Development Corporation, with assistance from the ESLARP faculty and staff, successfully negotiated a $27.1 million contract with the Illinois Housing Development Authority, McCormack/Baron Developers, and Community Planning and Design Associates to build 210 rental units and 50 single-family units in Emerson Park. Vickie Forby, EPDC's Executive Director, and Don Johnson, President of Community Planning and Design Associates are FAA and ESLARP alumni.

3. Summer Youth Employment Program- ESLARP employed twenty high school youth to assist neighborhood organizations with community improvement projects. We also used the program to encourage these young people to consider careers in the designing arts. The program ended with a very successful trip to campus.

4.** Annual ESLARP Retreat- Forty community residents participated in a lively debate at our annual program evaluation meeting regarding the future of ESLARP. We discussed a variety of future scenarios for our second decade as a project, including:

Residents were highly complimentary of our efforts, especially the creation of the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center. They were, in the short-run interested in more community organizing support, leadership training and youth development activities and in the long- run interested in the residential college ideal especially if it included opportunities for East St. Louis residents to take UIUC continuing education courses.

Fall Activities

1. Fall Work Weekends- Approximately 80 student and 6 faculty volunteers participated in two Fall Work Weekends which focused on the completion of a variety of physical improvement projects, including: landscaping of the two homes recently built, preparation of a multi-family building for rehabilitation, re-building a porch for an elderly women, clearing trash-strewn lots in Alta Site and Centreville.

2.** 1998 COPC Conference- One hundred and fifty academics, community leaders and HUD officials attended the COPC Conference in East St. Louis. Participant response to the "experientially-based" conference format which involved every attendee in a neighborhood planning/design charrette was particularly positive. This was the first COPC Conference were formal papers were presented and a special issue of HUD's CITYSCAPE journal will be dedicated to the event. Six East St. Louis residents prepared a paper evaluating our performance and suggesting a criteria for measuring the success of other COPCs. The conference ended with a Gala Dinner, funded by Mercantile Bank, at which the Dunham Museum Children's Workshop performed. The highlight of the evening was a surprise appearance and speech by Miss Katherine Dunham!

3. President Stukel's Briefing- We had the opportunity to spend one hour with President Stukel last week. He has been asked by the American Association on Higher Education to present an example of the U of I's public service work and he has decided to include some discussion of ESLARP in his remarks. We prepared speaking points and overheads for his possible use.

4. ESLARP "The Film"- We have been asked by Michael Levine, Professor of Cinematography at Stanford University to work with him in producing a film on our work in East St. Louis. He recently completed award winning films on South Central L.A. and East Palo Alto. He would like to present Miss Dunham's work as the foundation for our efforts. He plans to come to Champaign and East St. Louis this Fall, at his own expense, to discuss the project with community residents and ESLARP staff.

5. NY Times Feature???- We have been working with Melissa Mitchell, our college's newly assigned News Bureau staffer, to generate national press interest in our work. She recently sent out the following "Tip Sheet" and there appears to be some interest on the part of a locally- based NY Times reporter to do a feature.

6. Fannie Mae Panel- Ken has been asked to moderate a panel at the annual meeting of the Fannie Mae Foundation in Pasadena. The panel will discuss funding for community/university partnerships. The participants on the panel include: Ford, Rockefeller, Lilly, MacArthur, USDA, HUD, Seedco and others with "deep pockets". We will endeavor to make the best of this opportunity.

Spring Programs

1. Interdisciplinary Studio- Brian, Mike and Ken will collaborate in offering an interdisciplinary studio that will produce a comprehensive plan for the Alta Site neighborhood. We hope this will become a key feature of our future ESLARP-related course offerings- interdisciplinary work.

2. Illinois Campus Compact Meeting- We will be hosting the 1999 Illinois Campus Compact meeting on campus on April 9-10. This is a state- wide meeting of faculty who are involved in ongoing community/university partnerships. We hope to use the meeting to explore the possibility of passing state legislation to provide recurring funding for community/university development partnerships such as ESLARP. Florida, Ohio and New Jersey have already done so!

3. Spring Work Weekends- Project have not been selected yet by our community partners.

4.** DunhamFest II- Cooperative effort by local arts groups and area universities to support the art education and youth development efforts of Ms. Katherine Dunham in East St. Louis. We hope UIUC will be a financial sponsor, along with SIUE, Washington University and Webster University, of this event and that our Dance Department will participate.

Future Possibilities

1.** Multi-University Center (UIUC Residential College in East St. Louis)- we believe that there may be an opportunity to create a residential college program for students interested in the arts, design, planning, education, social work and other fields in East St. Louis. Local organizations need talented and committed inters; students from the U of I and other campuses (i.e. Berkeley, Stanford, Cornell) are looking for ways to compliment their classroom education with meaningful pre-professional work experiences. Residents are interested in taking U of I classes that might lead towards certificates or degrees. Representative Younge is very interested in the idea. She has already spoken to Steve Schomberg and Xavier deSouza Briggs of HUD.

2.** Integrating the Rest of the College into ESLARP-

3.** Provost's Meeting- A. Can we make a brief presentation of our work to the new Provost when he visits FAA?

4. Participation in a Work Weekend- A. Would it be possible for you and your staff to participate in one of our work weekends in East St. Louis with our students sometime during the next year?

Document author(s) : Ken Reardon
Last modified: 19 November 1998, Deanna Koenigs

EAST ST LOUIS ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT