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$30 million grant aims to boost St. Louis' near north side

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro speaking at lectern at St. Stansilaus Kostka Church in north St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The Department Housing and Urban Developmentawarded St. Louis a $29.5 million grant on Monday to help revive the city’s near north side.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro gathered with state and local leaders at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, 1413 N. 20th St., to announce the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant for a neighborhood that has long struggled with poverty and neglect.

Castro said the grant will leverage other recent efforts to rebuild the area, including the Defense Department’s plan to build a $1.75 billion facility nearby for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

“St. Louis is doing a great job at connecting the dots of economic opportunity and quality of life. This north side community is on a roll with the NGA, the Promise Zone, the Department of Justice grant and now today nearly $30 million to revitalize this community,” he said.

In 2015, areas of north St. Louis and north St. Louis County were designated as a federal Promise Zone, which gives the region a higher priority in gaining federal assistance and resources.

The most recent grant money will rehab about 675 units of Section 8 housing at Preservation Square and reconfigure nearby streets. 

Street view of houses on Preservation Square with green sign in median bearing the name Preservation Square.
Credit Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio
The $30 million HUD grant aims to help upgrade distressed, subsidized residences at Preservation Square into sustainable, mixed-income housing with access to transit, better schools and jobs.

The funding will also help transform the abandoned Carr School, which stands at the corner of Carr and 15th streets, into a community center, to be operated by the YMCA and Carr Square Tenant Management Corp. In addition, health, education and job training services will be available to residents of the  Carr Square, Columbus Square, St. Louis Place and Old North neighborhoods.

The Choice Neighborhoods grant program began in 2010. More than 30 cities applied for this year's grants. Five were chosen: St. Louis, Denver, Boston, Louisville, Kentucky and Camden, New Jersey. Combined, the grants are worth $132 million.

Follow Joseph Leahy on Twitter: @joemikeleahy