by Michael R. Allen
While it may seem like a small act, Grand Center’s effort to light vacant storefronts windows along Grand Avenue between Olive and Delmar is a good model for dealing with vacant space. Here, the redevelopment corporation used colored lights and paper to give empty spaces a pleasing night-time glow. The effect is helpful in an area known for its dead sidewalk life and plethora of empty storefronts.
Other neighborhoods should consider the big effect that lighting, posters, window displays or other decoration can provide. While waiting for development, there’s no reason that vacant spaces have to be lifeless. After all, a small first step toward drawing attention to a space could lead to the end result of a signed lease or completed rehab. Every space from a storefront to an entire house can be decorated, and I encourage readers to urge their neighborhood groups to implement a decoration plan or, better yet, implement one of their own (no spray paint, please).
Now, if Grand Center could get St. Louis University to encourage its students to get off campus for lunch…