Sustainable Neighborhood Small Grant Competition Winners Announced

Proposed Winning Projects

July 2, 2013 | 5 min reading time

This article is 11 years old. It was published on July 2, 2013.

An entrepreneurship program for bee keeping, reflective rooftop painting and a new skate park are among the seven winning projects of the Sustainable Neighborhood Small Grant Competition to promote sustainability among City neighborhoods. The competition, launched in May 2013 with the help of nine local funders, provided an opportunity for neighborhood organizations, individuals, religious organizations and community groups to propose projects that help improve livability and enhance quality of life at the local level.

"It is gratifying to see so many people willing to get involved and work together to make their neighborhoods more sustainable," said Mayor Francis G. Slay. "We look forward to seeing how these sustainable neighborhood projects start to transform our City."

Forty-three groups representing 30 of the City's 79 neighborhoods submitted project proposals.  The projects ranged from neighborhood gardens, to sidewalk and infrastructure improvements, to entrepreneurial programs for youth and at-risk populations.

The Sustainable Neighborhood Small Grant Competition is part of a larger Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative that is designed to help implement aspects of the City's newly adopted Sustainability Plan and the Mayor's Sustainability Action Agenda

"Raising awareness about the types of sustainable changes and enhancements we can make at the neighborhood scale was one of our primary objectives in holding this small grant competition," said Catherine Werner, the City's Sustainability Director. "Not only have we been able to reach a lot of people, but it is clear from the caliber and quantity of proposals we received that residents are going to be instrumental in bringing to life the vision of an economically, socially, and ecologically more sustainable City."

It is only through the generosity of the Local Sustainability Funders Group that this small grant competition was made possible.

"We want to support people and neighborhoods that are willing to work to institute practices that will have a positive impact not just in the short-term, but for many years to come," said Bridget Flood, Executive Director of the Incarnate Word Foundation. "It was terrific to see how many neighborhood groups were inspired by this competition to come together and think about what is possible."

The seven winning projects are also aligned with the categories of the City's Sustainability Plan and the Mayor's Sustainability Action Agenda.Projects selected to receive the $5,000 grant include:

Mission: St. Louis Home Repair's Painting Sustainability Project

Neighborhood: Forest Park Southeast/The Grove
Sustainability Category: Infrastructure, Facilities & Transportation

To alleviate the burden of energy expenses and promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and homeownership, the project will mobilize volunteers to apply elastomeric white paint to residents' roofs to create higher solar reflectance, decrease energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions, reduce temperatures in and outside the home, and lower smog levels.

Sweet Sensation

Neighborhood:  The Greater Ville
Sustainability Category: Prosperity, Opportunity & Employment

The goal of Sweet Sensation is to teach north side teens about entrepreneurship and small business development through the design and operation of a beekeeping business. With the guidance of local business professionals, the teens will design the business from the ground floor, develop product lines, write business and marketing plans, and build a financial projections model.

Thurman Gateway Park

Neighborhood: Shaw
Sustainability Category: Urban Character, Vitality & Ecology

This project will reintroduce native prairie grasses and flowering perennials along each side of Thurman Avenue between DeTonty and Lafayette to create the new Thurman Gateway Park in an area that is currently blighted. The prairie anchors the transformation of this decayed portion of both neighborhoods into a vibrant multiple use public area through beautification and environmentally sensitive improvements.

West End Biker's Club

Neighborhood: West End
Sustainability Category: Empowerment, Diversity & Equity

This project proposes expanding and building capacity of the Positive Youth Affair (PYA) Biker's Club to become the West End Biker's Club, in which PYA youth will lead bike repair programming across the neighborhood along St. Vincent Greenway, a bike trail that runs through the West End. The West End Biker's Club will include educational programming for bike safety, job-training, and entrepreneurship, and will partner with other organizations and businesses along St. Vincent Greenway.

McKinley Meadows

Neighborhood: McKinley Heights
Sustainability Category: Health, Well-Being & Safety

This project proposes to transform a vacant LRA lot into a community space that will improve the attractiveness of the neighborhood, support native habitat and wildlife, conserve resources, and encourage healthy living and the interaction of the diverse community that is McKinley Heights. Rather than creating a fenced in, private "community garden," the goal is to create an edible forest, opening it up to the entire community, providing equal access to produce and all that the space has to offer.

Bevo Gardens

Neighborhood: Bevo Mill
Sustainability Category: Education, Training & Leadership

A unique strategy to increase community safety and increase interaction among generations and Bevo's many ethnic groups, "Bevo Gardens" proposes a community garden/park on what is now an abandoned vacant lot at Morgan Ford and Osceola. A skateboarding rink will be built on about half of the lot by KHVT, a local group that promotes skateboarding. This project will turn the remaining space surrounding the skate rink into a community garden/park, with benches, a kiosk, community garden plots with rain barrels, sustainable native shrubs, trees and perennials.

Dogtown Sustainability Celebration

Neighborhood: Franz Park
Sustainability Category: Arts, Culture & Innovation

The Dogtown neighborhood will create a Sustainability Celebration and Expo of arts, music and outreach to educate residents and businesses about sustainable practices for their own homes and yards to create a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable Dogtown community.It will also develop an asset map of the neighborhood's sustainability features in order to better inform and involve residents and businesses in the neighborhood.

A jury of 11 professionals representing the City of St. Louis, the Local Sustainability Funders Group and community experts selected the seven winning teams, whose projects will be featured on the City's website.The City is also creating an Idea Bank of neighborhood sustainability project proposals so that other ideas may be replicated throughout the City with private dollars or future grants.

The competition required that a tangible portion of each of the winning project ideas be completed by October 31, 2013.  In partnership with Nine Network of Public Media, progress and outcomes will be documented and shared.  The winning projects will be celebrated at a Sustainability Showcase in November 2013 in conjunction with the Mayor's Sustainability Summit III :: implement.

Another aspect of the City's Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative is to create the resource portion of the City's Sustainable Neighborhood Toolkit. The toolkit will include ideas and instructions for implementing 20-30 sustainability projects best suited for the neighborhood scale.

A summary of the winners and all of the ideas that were submitted, as well as details on eligibility and requirements are posted online at the competition's website and can be accessed through the City's sustainability website

The Sustainable Neighborhood Toolkit and Small Grant Competition is made possible by a national grant provided  by The Funders' Network and matched by these generous, local sustainability funders: Ameren Missouri, Commerce Bancshares Foundation, Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation, Incarnate Word Foundation, Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, St. Louis – Jefferson Solid Waste Management District, The Trio Foundation of St. Louis, Wells Fargo Advisors, William A. Kerr Foundation.

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