7:00 – Welcome to meeting – Introduction of New Attendees present
7:05 Legislative Updates: Michael Butler, Legislative Aide to State Senator Robin Wright Jones DID NOT APPEAR – RESCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY
State Rep JEANETTE Mott Oxford can’t make it to meetings, but wanted to share that she is available by cell or email as indicated below:
I am unable to come to TGENA meetings from January until May because of being in Jefferson City Monday-Thursday for those weeks. But I want your members to know that they can reach me quickly by using my cell phone: 314-775-8940. I also monitor my House e-mail account frequently Monday-Thursday at firstname.lastname@example.org during those months, so that’s a second option.
Jeanette Mott Oxford
State Representative, 59th District (MO)
573-751-4567 (o); 314-771-8882 (h)
2910 Lemp Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63118
7:10 Update from 3rd District St. Louis Police Department – Det. Paul Kosednar
“Not much going on in Tower Grove East in the last few months, and that’s a good thing.”
- Had one case in the last couple of weeks and it was an issue at a vacant property. The legislature is working to make the sale of copper much more difficult. Copper theft seems to be the main problem. Keep an eye on vacant properties on the block. We get those calls all of the time.
- Crime in the last few months is definitely down.
- QUESTION from Neighbor: Should patrol be watching for kids who are supposed to be at Roosevelt?
- ANSWER: If you see somebody who looks suspicious, call the police. The patrol can deal with the kids and decide what to do. The principal at Roosevelt is good at disciplining kids who have been skipping.
Rachel Witt: Police Officer Stuckey does a good job bringing skippers back to school.
One person-to-person crime investigating – the robbery involving the resident who maced the robber – they are reviewing surveillance video from a bus, have some leads.
7:15 Featured Speakers: “Curb Appeal: The Neighborhood: How to Sell Tower Grove East.”
What excites buyers, invigorates realtors, and makes people put down roots here?” Panelists: Dawn Griffin, Tyler Olsen, and Rachel Witt
- Rachel Witt: from the South Grand Community Improvement District
- Dawn Griffin, Realtor: bought her first house on Hartford near Roosevelt High School.
- Tyler Olsen, Realtor: lived in tower grove east for about 12 years. TGE is a great neighborhood and a great place to live. Tyler has been a realtor for almost 18 years.
What would you see as the core marketable attributes of TGE?
- TO: lots of activity here. I can see lots of renovation going on and lots of excitement. We are in the shadows of Wash U and SLU. Our neighborhood is just starting to get restaurants. Close to 44 and 55. I think it’s going to grow and I think the location is going to be a big part of that.
- DG: I think the location is one of the best things about the neighborhood. The South Grand Business District belongs to us also.
- RW: People my age want to live in an urban environment with walk-ability. The homes are amazing and you can’t find them out in the county. They move here because they want to live in a diverse neighborhood– socially, racially, economically.
What are businesses looking for?
RW: we created a statistics packet. I can email this to you. They want to know the density income, traffic. There are 30-thousand cars a day going down south grand. That’s the kind of date that business want to have.
What can we improve on?
RW: There’s so many organizations trying to make a difference- like Sales Housing. Get involved in these organizations like Operation Brightside. Work on blocks that need a little lift.
DG: Plant trees within the street and the sidewalk. If you go to other neighborhoods like Tower Grove South, there’s a lot more trees. That creates a certain “feeling” for buyers. Get rid of chain link in the front. You can’t necessary change your neighbors’ properties but you can encourage them. Check out the city’s tree lawn program.
David Lott: Contact the city forestry department but it might take awhile. They do it at a certain time of the year.
Get your block together. You can possibly make the request as a block. Residents in the 3000 block of victor requested 16 trees.
TO: Support all of the new businesses around here. Check them out and keep them going.
Neighbor: One thing that we can all do is pick up trash. Even if it’s in someone else’s yard.
What does web presence do for a neighborhood?
DG: I think most of my clients start their search on the internet. The web presence is a really big deal. The listserv is the best place for residents within the neighborhood to go to talk about crime.
TO: The listserv is extremely important. All of our clients that are interested in TGE have already researched the websites.
DG: I have a lot of clients who are professors at Wash U and SLU. You should try featuring the residents of your neighborhood on the website. Show off a neighbor each week and talk about where they’re from and what they do.
More on website:
RW: I think Joe has done an amazing job with the TGE website. He’s done a site for us and we’ve had so many hits based on what Joe has done. Keep it simple
DG: lots of pictures, feature the architecture
TO: I think TGE has great architectural appeal compared to Tower Grove Heights
DG: Just be sure to market the people in the neighborhood
David Lott: We put a lot of work into getting the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places, which can help residents can get extra tax credits. How important is that?
TO: I’ve used those tax credits before and they’re very important to us (as realtors)
DG: Individual buyers, they want the completely done / fully rehabbed experience. But investors are going to turn homes around with those tax credits – it will drive more investment.
What do you think about the “stereotype” of state streets in St. Louis?
DG: One of my biggest pet peeves is that people are put off by these street names. I deal with that on an individual basis. I try to talk through with a client about how long Michigan is. I think you should “own it.” Confront that stereotype straight on. Maybe have a state street party or something to draw positive attention to it.
TO: I think we’ve overcome that.
What kinds of attributes are TGE buyers looking for in a home?
DG: Buyers are into the architecture. Some are looking for modern lines and some will walk out the door (if it’s too modern). Well-done is always something that people respond to. Well done. Make sure the details are there.
DG: the homes that make the most money are the ones that are done correctly and are crisp and clean.
Should we open up the floor plans?
TO: Open floor plans are a big seller for me.
DG: Open floor plans are great but don’t force it. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it.
RW: I want to address what we’re doing to get more businesses to South Grand. We’ve been putting together a new marketing campaign with new logo, tag line, videos. We’re getting a 6’ x 5’ banner for the post office. The project is going to look beautiful when it’s done. We’re waiting on MODOT for approval before moving ahead with Phase 2. The project should begin again in spring/early summer. Phase 2 should be a lot quicker. The district will be better lit. It won’t be as bright as Cherokee– but close! We’re designing a new sign at Grand and Hartford to show off the parking lot. We will be doing movie nights again. We’re hopefully going to do a craft show in the parking lot in the fall. We want to get more businesses and more foot traffic, which will help get more people moving into the neighborhood.
DG: Do things to build the community in the neighborhood that are less formal. For instance, put together a ladies night or bar-hop. This can help improve the neighborhood. Those are things that we can talk to buyers about and they’ll respond to.
TO: It’s really hard to keep a neighborhood cleaned up. Not everyone participates all of the time. It’s very important to pull together as a community and keep the neighborhood cleaned up. A gallon of paint is $20 but it’s worth $1,000 on the wall.
7:45 Announcements from elected officials and/or their staff:
Ald. Kacie Starr-Triplett – 6th – NSO – Felicia Henderson
Kacie is training for a marathon!
A few things going on since we last heard from Kacie:
At the last meeting, we talked about the corner store and Michigan and Magnolia. Good news- there are new owners. The previous owner is still on the lease. That building is still on the crackdown list but there haven’t been any service calls recently. If you notice anything, please report it.
Hopefully you’ve heard about the signing of a grocery store at 44 (in the old Foodland). We should be able to announce the grocery store tenants in less than 30 days.
You can watch election results with Kacie and neighbors at Fox Park Grille on (February 7?)
BANNERS: Working on finding someone who will make/place the banners at an affordable price.
Remember to report problem properties to Felicia Henderson – 6th Ward NSO.
ALSO from Felicia: Operation Brightside wants volunteers for bulb planting. It’s happening on Friday January 27 and Saturday Jan 28. 9 am to Noon. Shuttle from Upper MUNY
Jerome (6th Ward Problem Property Coordinator): if you see someone suspicious going between buildings- call police. Keeping porch lights on is really important!
Michelle (8th ward NSO) Remember to keep porch lights on!! It provides a sense of security. Also after redistricting, the 8th ward has extended itself farther north.
Ald. Steve Conway – 8th Ward – not present
Ald. Jennifer Florida – -15th Ward – not present
7:50 Brief announcements
Neighborhood ownership model: If you are interested in being in a group that explores whether this is feasible, please sign up. If you are interested in chairing/spearheading this effort, please contact Norah Ryan – our safety committee chair. NEED: Victim Outreach Coordinator, Crime Watch Coordinator, and Court Watch Coordinator
Other (official) ways to keep in touch:
7:55 Any member announcements? Announcements from any board members or committee chairpersons present?
- New Music School for Kids (Grand and Pestalozzi). They will post information online.
- Tanner Virtue: Next month I’ll be talking about the value of putting solar panels on rooftops. If anyone is interested, contact him online.
- Reminder about “Forget-Me-Not Bed & Breakfast” in our neighborhood on Compton! 10% discount for family members of residents.
8:00 Conclude and happy hour. Next meeting: JUDGE ROBIN VANNOY to discuss criminal justice and neighborhood involvement