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Group Seeking To Revitalize MLK Drive Looks To Hydroponics For Economic Push

Lauer Architecture
Proposed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Park aerial view illustration, to be placed at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

If all goes according to plan, a hydroponics factory could soon be located on Martin Luther King Drive. It’s the newest effort by St. Louis nonprofit Beloved Streets of America to revitalize the street.

At first the factory would be located at 5901 MLK, in the back of Beloved Streets headquarters.

“It’s a big building that can be used for multiple purposes,” Beloved Streets president Melvin White said.

The organization is working out a partnership with Washington University to supply lettuce and tomatoes to Bon Apetit, which runs the university’s food service.

The goal is to have the hydroponics equipment set up by February, the plants set up by August and to start supplying produce to Washington University in time for the fall 2014 semester.

For Beloved Streets, the hydroponics project is a means of creating economic development and opportunity, one step in revitalizing the neighborhood.

“By looking at urban farming as part of our development, we feel that this will touch on urban decline, suburban sprawl, sustainability, food production, job creation and education opportunity,” Derek Lauer said. He is the architect who designed a park Beloved Streets hopes to build across the street from their headquarters – another prong in their efforts of revitalization.

Those interested in getting involved with Beloved Streets can contact Melvin White at 314-814-1043, visit the Beloved Streets website, or check out the MLK Drive website.

Related Event

Beloved Streets Review of Progress and Look Ahead
Saturday, February 22, 2014
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Creative Exchange Lab, 3302 Washington Ave.
For more information, call 314-452-1579 or visit the Beloved Streets website.

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

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