ST. LOUIS - Following Mayor Tishaura O. Jones’ commitment to invest $150 million in American Rescue Plan funds in North St. Louis, the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) released the vision guiding the commitment to begin reversing decades of disinvestment. The document, a Roadmap to Economic Justice, highlights the key areas, including small business empowerment, addressing vacancy, and affordable housing, where investment would be focused.
“We need to construct new buildings while building up surrounding communities as well to make sure dedicated residents aren’t forced out of their neighborhoods,” said SLDC Executive Director Neal Richardson. “This $150 million commitment is an important first step from the city, helping SLDC leverage private dollars, philanthropic contributions, and federal/state grants to truly reverse decades of disinvestments in our communities.”
Long-term goals of the roadmap include beginning work to eliminate the racial wealth gap, improve health and education outcomes, and put the city on the path to tax base and population growth. It emphasizes three pillars of equitable growth: economic empowerment, which includes workforce development and small business assistance; equitable and inclusive development, through incentive reform and support for commercial corridors; and neighborhood transformation, by addressing built environment issues like vacant buildings and building housing as diverse as the city.
“St. Louis cannot succeed, together, if more than half of it is allowed to fail,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “Lifting neighborhoods out of poverty will make our city stronger and safer across racial lines and zip codes. I look forward to further engaging the community and the Board of Aldermen to get their feedback on this vision as well as ways to allocate the remaining $250 million coming into our city.”
The City of St. Louis continues to solicit community input for ARPA spending priorities. Mayor Jones and cabinet members will hold roundtable discussions and two town halls to hear directly from residents and community leaders. The first town hall will take place at the O’Fallon Park Recreation Complex on May 11 from 6pm to 8pm; the second town hall will be held May 17 at Meramec Elementary School from 6pm to 8pm. More than 3,500 print and online responses to the survey have been submitted, with the survey closing on May 20.
Mayor Jones’ $150 million commitment builds on the $80 million already programmed for St. Louis families and communities across the city. The administration has worked to make St. Louis a safer, healthier, and better place for families using ARPA dollars through Direct Cash Assistance, COVID-19 vaccine incentives, Gateway Go MetroTransit passes for youth, SLDC’s STL Small Business Grant Fund, and more. The City and County’s joint rental assistance portal opened last week.