by Michael R. Allen
This video from the St. Louis Beacon makes my head spin at the potential for community-building across the city. Person after person here declares their support for opening a coffee shop in Old North St. Louis, the Urban Studio Cafe. We have residents, their children, their alderwoman, their friends, the people who work in their neighborhood businesses and their fellow city residents from across the city. Each person in displaying faith that an old city neighborhood that has experienced massive population loss and disinvestment can and should support a gathering place.
Read the accompanying article to see what the cafe project is all about. This is a project that comes from the social roots of the neighborhood — roots that extend deep and wide, intertwined with roots of other neighborhoods. The Urban Studio Cafe is the sort of project that really makes a difference in sustaining a community. The storefront itself is well-suited to the cafe, and the location adjacent to Crown Candy Kitchen generates enough foot traffic that chance encounters occur frequently here. The space is cool, but people make it come to life.