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Downtown residents focus on community improvement

By Adam Allington, KWMU

Springfield, IL – Residents living in downtown St. Louis are meeting this week to focus on ways to develop their neighborhood.

Brad Fratello is president of the Downtown St. Louis Residents Association.

"Because so many people have lived there for less than five years we just don't have the sort of neighborhood infrastructure that older more established neighborhoods have established," says Fratello.

Brian Rappaport, also of the residents association, says a big step in developing downtown will simply be building the kinds of networks and programs other neighborhoods have come to depend on.

"Things like neighborhood watch programs, community night out, these are things that places like Fenton or University City have had for years. We have to start from square one."

The downtown residents association formed in 1999, about the same time that people began to move back downtown in significant numbers.

Accurately gauging crime, or the threat of crime, has been one topic that people want to know more about.

According to Fratello, that shouldn't be a strike against downtown.

"We have the occasional car break in, I personally have lived in 3 or 4 neighborhoods in the city and the crime issue downtown is no more or less than I've perceived in any other neighborhood."

Fratello says that since most residents live in lofts, one safety concern is adopting timing standards for buzz-in doors or electric parking gates.

Downtown residents will have the chance to pose questions to Mayor Francis Slay Tuesday evening at the Schlafly Taproom.