Summer has hit in Tower Grove East and the neighbor- hood is percolat- ing with activity. With the Pride pa- rade, home tours, neighborhood yardsale, and more, it is a great

munity Housing, the showcase pro- vided an opportunity for us to share with dependable developers some of the “neediest cases” for redevelop- ment on some of our toughest blocks. Our Aldermen focused on tax credits and incentives to help developers re- store vacant houses back into family homes. I shared my insights about the wonderful diversity, energy, and friendliness of our community.

We also welcomed new businesses and organizations this year and were thrilled to see the continuation of others. A new church has taken root at the corner of Sidney and Minne- sota. August Gate Church has grown quickly since coming to our neighborhood, and they have already consistently offered to be of service to TGE. Also opening this summer at Shenandoah and Nebraska is The Washateria, a new full-service Laun- dromat with dry-cleaning drop off service, along with a high-end hair salon called “Snip” set to move in next door. These projects are under the direction of the son of a longtime Compton Ave. resident. Also Front Yard Features, owned by TGE resi- dent Martin Casas, returned to the Commerce Bank Parking Lot for a second year to bring Tower Grove East residents an outdoor summer movie series.

Speaking of South Grand, we have been watching with delight as the bridge nears completion (newest esti- mate for reopening: July 14?). The shops and restaurants along South Grand have been undergoing make- overs as the streetscape has been changing to more pedestrian-friendly with sidewalk dining, bump-outs, and planters. Many thanks to TGE resident Anne Moore who continues to work tirelessly to maintain the landscaping along the medians lead- ing to the business district. All of this beautification has a direct impact on

Time to reflect on happenings halfway through this year.

At our TGENA meetings we learned about and discussed a wide variety of issues with engaging speakers: a panel of real estate experts on ways to improve the TGE’s marketability; Mayor Francis Slay on the north side redevelopment; Judge Robin Vannoy on how communities can help hold offenders accountable; and representatives from Fox Park, Shaw, and Grand Oak Hill on the initiatives in their areas to build neighborhood spirit and forge con- nections among neighbors.

We also heard from Shawn McKie about the works and needs of the non-profit J.U.I.C.E. Project, which is located at The Juice Box at the corner of Minnesota and Arsenal. Shawn described the youth out- reach and community-building pro- grams that take place within the context of a healthy corner store. Each TGENA meeting brought a half dozen or more new visitors who stayed for the social hour to meet and greet with neighbors, po- lice officers and public officials, and our membership continues to grow.

Meanwhile, even in this difficult economy, developers are continu- ing to focus much of their attention on our growing neighborhood. This spring, along with Aldermen Con- way and Triplett, I had the pleasure of attending the Rehabbers’ Show- case. Presented by DeSales Com-our quality of life and sense of place in TGE.

Ahhh, beautification. It takes work. With lots of hard work, Operation Brightside was a huge success this year as neighbors came together to clean up their blocks and alleys. Block Captain Marilyn Lancaster mobilized neighbors and even recruited some outside volunteers to clean up some trash-laden and long-ignored vacant properties along Michigan, and resi- dents along McKean have started a community garden.

Alderman Triplett, Jerome Murry, and Felicia Henderson have been fierce in implementing tools necessary to address problem properties which attract nuisance behavior, and the 3d District Police have been working alongside them to bring neighborhood crime down sig- nificantly. Residents are slowly being trained as volunteers (yes, you can!) to help with out- reach to those who are victimized within our boundaries and as crime-watchers and nui- sance reporters through the Neighborhood Ownership Model. Check the slmpd.org web- site – crime is down in all categories in our neighborhood, and it is a direct result of the commitment and determination of our neighbors.

I could go on. Our neighborhood just keeps getting better. You can be a part of it, too. Shoot me an email – melanieder- ousse@gmail.com – with ideas or to volunteer.

Melanie DeRousse President TGENA