by Michael R. Allen
Yesterday the St. Louis Preservation Board met with members Richard Callow, Melanie Fathman, Mike Killeen, David Richardson, Anthony Robinson, David Visintaner and Alderwoman Phyllis Young present. The most likely contentious matter on the agenda was consideration of the expansion of the boundaries of the Fox Park Local Historic District accordint to the boundaries below.
Fox Park Neighborhood Association President Ian Simmons explained the purpose of the expansion simply: to put the entire neighborhood on equal footing for design review and development potential. Four other people spoke in favor, including DeSales Housing Corporation Executive Director Tom Pickel. Mark Whitman spoke against the expansion with great conviction, stating that he found the expansion to violate the United States Constitution and to represent gentrification of the southern part of the neighborhood.
The Preservation Board voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Aldermen approve the boundary increase. The next step is introduction of the boundary increase as an ordinance at the Board of Aldermen by Alderwoman Young and Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett. The ordinance will get a committee hearing before the full board considers it.
The Preservation Board also unanimously approved on a preliminary basis the above design for new construction at the southeast corner of Lafayette and Mississippi avenues in Lafayette Square (1922-24 Park Avenue). Designed by architect Paul Fendler, the new two-story building would combine retail on the first floor and residential space above. The board approved a different plan for the site two years ago.
Another interesting case was the return of a front door replacement at 2841 Shenandoah Avenue in Fox Park. After last month’s stalemate on the matter, Andrea Gagen on the Cultural Resources Office staff located a supplier who could provide an acceptable paint-grade wooden door for less than the cost of a door that the owner wanted to install that did not meet the Fox Park Local Historic District standards. The owner asserted that the supplier contacted by Gagen could not make the door he wanted for the cost she stated, and that installation using his contractor would cost $500 regardless (an amount that is incredible for such worl). The Board then voted 4-1 to uphold staff denial of the first application.
The Preservation Board also unanimously upheld the appeal by Louis Ford of denial of a demolition permit for 3219-21 N. 20th Street, pictured above. Located in Old North and the Murphy Blair Historic District, the house has been vacant for years. Ford purchased the house to keep it secured from criminal activity. Ford stated that he would save the house if he could find money for work, but he had no interest in endlessly keeping it boarded and stable. Perhaps the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group would be able to accept the house as a donation.