by Michael R. Allen
Last week, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation awarded the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG) $200,000 grant at its fourth annual Neighborhood Excellence Initiative awards. The Restoration Group will use the money to renovate its new office and meeting space in the 14th Street Mall Redevelopment Area and to purchase properties that play strategic roles in stabilizing sections of the neighborhood. These are pressing needs for the group as it begins to operate as a high-profile community development corporation that handles a huge workload.
Currently, the ONSLRG staff does an amazing amount of work with only three full-time staffers operating out of modest rented space. The momentum that ONSLRG has created is impressive, but demanding — the harder the organization works, the more people inside and outside of the neighborhood want assistance with development, nuisance properties and community matters. This award gives ONSLRG capacity to keep up with accelerating interest in Old North.