by Michael R. Allen
It’s a good thing that we have the myth of a “Team Four Plan,” because that allows us to ignore the convergence of neglectful property owners, ineffective aldermen, minimal city planning oversight and new-development-obsessed community development corporations that are more responsible for the depletion of north St. Louis than consultants who prepared a memorandum nearly forty years ago. A close read of that document does not yield the phrase “College Hill” even once, so the blame for that neighborhood’s despair lies elsewhere.
The blame for the impending demolition of the privately-owned one-part commercial block at 3773-3783 West Florissant Avenue, at the intersection of Prairie Avenue, can at least partially be laid upon recent rains that besieged a weak parapet wall that has now fallen into the building. Yet the rains are not why the building has been listed as a vacant building since 1990, and when the waters pour upon a vacant lot for the next few decades we will have to trace the demise of commercial life at the intersection further back than 2012.