Report to the Community- TGNCDC Celebrates a Year of Planning, Growth and Success with an Eye on 2016
Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC (TGNCDC) promotes and improves quality of life by attracting public and private investment and providing real estate and other community services. In pursuit of our mission, the last twelve months have been challenging but successful. Our 20 year vision and framework plan was completed (download here), a 5 year strategic plan was completed (download here), our first external audit was completed, and new governance policies were implemented.
In the last year, over 450 landlords were trained in 9 sessions (50% increase in attendance from 2014), over 1314 tenants were screened (62% increase from last year), and a new tenant screening brand, ScreenDoor, was created to be released in late January 2016. In addition, not one but two online screening applications were created (for free) and a new tenant screening website, thescreendoor.org, was finished. Moreover, as a part of our screening program, 94 nuisance property abatement meetings were attended and 84 units from nuisance property landlords were added to our program. Over a two year period, 156 nuisance properties were added to our screening program and 144 were abated/removed from the system.
CDBG (Community Development Block Grants), an Energy Foundation grant, Rise Capacity Building grant and PNC grants were written, secured and administered at a high level. We also completed our first major Poker fundraiser. And, what could be a long lasting success, the first neighborhood organization in Tower Grove South was formed with our leadership.
In development related activities, 4175 Shaw Ave. gas station remediation and redevelopment plan is on track for completion with $160,000 Brownfield's grant secured . With financial assistance provided by Alderman Conway, sidewalk and other infrastructure work was completed on Shaw Blvd based on our Shaw Blvd Improvement Plan and a long time nuisance property at 3901 Shaw was secured and promoted for redevelopment. Further, a new proposal for redeveloping the 4100 block of Detonty St. was supported and new trees were planted on the 4100 block of Detonty St. embankment. In addition, our large, expensive to operate and underutilized building at 4168 Junitata St. was sold and the new owner is pouring over $250,000 into the property. Some of the proceeds from this sale were used to buy and renovate 14 naturally affordable apartments in The Wedge (South Tower Grove South (Gravois Ave to Grand Ave to Chippewa St.)). The buildings included the elimination of blight of a vacant 4 family (3610-12 Bamberger St.) and eradicating one of the most notorious drug houses in the Wedge (3600 Bamberger St.) including opening a new police substation in the building.
We also constructed two single-family affordable homes (3384 Fairview St. and 3504 S. Spring St.), have 3 more under construction (3279 and 3283 Alfred St and 5721 Southwest Ave.) and we’re awarded another for 2016 (3722 Tholozan St.). TGNCDC also started, and will finish shortly, our first market rate development project in Southwest Garden neighborhood (1817 Alfred). Collaborative efforts with Tower Grove Park, MoBot (Missouri Botanical Garden), Greater Gravois Initiative and others have started. We also completed dozens of neighborhood tours with developers and investors in the area and promoted the TGNCDC vacant and abandoned property inventory.
In 2015, we also honored Tom Sweeney,who has met his term limit. Tom has participated on the board for 12 years and was President for 4 years. His commitment to our work was unmatched. Finally, in the last 3 years, our budget has grown from about $80,000 to almost $500,000, and assets increased from about $400,000 to $1 million. This type of growth and success doesn't happen without hard work, a dedicated staff, engaged and supportive board and resident volunteers.
In 2016,we’ll continue to invest and promote investment into the remaining vacant buildings and other development opportunities, infrastructure improvements, nuisance property abatement and resident services. Through already secured CDBG grants, we’ll work to install new LED lighting on Shaw Blvd from Grand Ave. to Tower Grove Ave., a new LED lighting improvements program on Grand Ave. from Utah Street to Meramec Street and a Clean Up Fix Up beautification activity in South Tower Grove South. Also, we'll hold 9 Landlord Training seminars. You can find our more information on the training schedule and topics at http://towergrovecdc.org/cdbg-activities/landlord-training/
TGNCDC also plans to grow our tenant screening program to 1600 applications processed, increase our affordable rental portfolio to 27 units, complete and sell 4 affordable single family homes, complete two market rate developments and compile a resource list of available services and organizations in our service area through a community directory.
Please look for more information on volunteer opportunities and our progress toward our 2016 goals through our blog at www.towergrovecdc.org, Twitter (@towergrovecdc) , Facebook (Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC) and Instagram (Tower Grove CDC) accounts.
Thanks to everyone who supports our efforts to improve Tower Grove Neighborhoods.
Sean Spencer Executive Director- TGNCDC