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Flyer for the Virginia Avenue Block Meeting on Friday, August 7th in Dutchtown.

On Friday, August 7th, residents and business owners from the 4300 and 4400 blocks of Virginia Avenue will meet at Starz Salon, 4445 Virginia in the backyard. These neighbors want to begin forming an organized and cohesive block club. You’re welcome to join from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Meet the neighbors, along with residents from other nearby and recently organized blocks, plus representatives from DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown and the Dutchtown Community Improvement District.

How Block Organizing Starts

A growing group of neighbors on Virginia began talking about issues on their blocks — trash on the street and in the alleys, crime, and other nuisance activities nearby. What started with an informal plan for a neighborhood cleanup evolved into a desire to create an organized and permanent coalition for neighbors to strengthen and improve their corner of Dutchtown.

They’re not the first blocks in Dutchtown to organize. It usually starts organically. A few neighbors on each others’ porches discussing experiences and some loose ideas will turn into a few more neighbors cleaning up the alley. Then they’ll plan a block party that gets everyone onto the street, meeting and mingling, often for their neighbors for the first time. They exchange phone numbers and emails. They talk more and look out for each other. The momentum grows.

What Happens Next

This is how things started on the 4200 block of Louisiana, the 3500 block of Kingsland Court, and certainly others over the years throughout Greater Dutchtown. What started as a few neighbors casually interacting became a tight network of residents who communicate, plan, and protect each other.

Planning the Future of Block Organizing

DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown and DutchtownSTL.org seek to strengthen these nascent block organizations, facilitate communication, and build a template for other blocks to follow. With the experience of neighbors already involved, we hope to create a straightforward model that helps interested blocks quickly get organized.

Does your block already have an organization that fits the bill? Would you like it to? Get in touch with us and help to plan for the future of block organizing in Dutchtown.

You can also meet us tonight at Starz Salon for refreshments and discussion about how your block can get involved. Make sure to be safe and bring your mask along with your ideas and questions!


Top photo by Paul Sableman.

This post originally appeared on Dutchtown CID.

The Dutchtown Community Improvement District introduced new sidewalk furniture along Meramec Street on Tuesday during the Shades of Summer rollout event. The vividly colored tables, chairs, and umbrellas bring a splash of color to Downtown Dutchtown.

New sidewalk furniture in front of Dutchtown South Community Corporation on Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown.

Participating shop owners will set up the furniture when they open and take it down when they close. Having the furniture out will draw attention, encourage pedestrian traffic, and announce that Dutchtown is open for business.

New sidewalk furniture in front of Urban Eats on Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown.

Attendees at the Shades of Summer event also got to sample treats from Juanita’s Creole Soul Cafe, Pies & Surprise, and Perfectly Pastry, three of the new tenants in the Urban Eats Food Hall. Juanita’s Creole Soul Cafe and Pies & Surprise will hold their grand opening on Saturday, August 1st. Perfectly Pastry plans to officially open in the fall.

New sidewalk furniture in front of the Tawakal Halal Store on Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown.

Visitors also got to see a revamped storefront at the Tawakal Halal Store at 3308 Meramec. With help from the Dutchtown CID and designers Sara Schipkowski, Michael Jones, and Vanessa McBride, the store has been updated with a new sign, window displays, and a new door. The CID plans to assist with additional storefront updates throughout the district.

New sidewalk furniture in front of Greenfield Flooring on Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown.

It’s an exciting time in Downtown Dutchtown! New businesses and new concepts are coming to Meramec Street. The UrbanMain Initiative, a collaboration between DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown and Missouri Main Street Connection, continues to pursue a brighter future for the neighborhood. We continue to urge you to come for a visit and see what’s happening in Downtown Dutchtown!

This post originally appeared on Dutchtown CID.

The Dutchtown Community Improvement District is bringing vibrancy to Downtown Dutchtown this summer! On Tuesday, July 28th, join us as we roll out colorful new tables, chairs, and umbrellas along Meramec Street. Come have a seat and take our new furniture for a test drive!

The sidewalk furniture will add a splash of color to the district and create a more inviting atmosphere for neighbors and passers-by. We hope this leads to increased foot traffic, engaged neighbors and visitors, and ultimately greater occupancy in the district.

In addition to the furniture, the revamped Urban Eats Food Hall will be introducing three of its new resident vendors — Juanita’s Creole Soul Café, Perfectly Pastry, and Pies and Surprise — plus bartenders from the Original Crusoe’s slinging drinks. Come get a taste of the new flavors coming soon to Dutchtown!

The introduction goes on from 5:30pm to 7pm. Visit the Facebook event page to let us know you’re coming and to share with your neighbors.

The next Dutchtown Movie Night is coming up on Saturday, July 25th! This time around, we’ll be showing the animated adventure Spies in Disguise featuring the voice of Will Smith.

The event begins at 7:30pm. Arrive promptly to claim your spot on the hill! We’ll also have food trucks, community activities, and more.

The movie will be projected on the inflatable 22 foot big screen on the hill in front of the Field House. Bring a chair or a blanket to sit on. Once it gets dark (around 8:30pm), we’ll start the movie.

Tell your family and friends and neighbors about this fun, family-friendly event! Go to the Facebook event page to share and invite people. For info about more movie nights this summer, go to dutchtownstl.org/movienight or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The 2020 Dutchtown Movie Nights are sponsored by AB InBev, DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown, Dutchtown Community Improvement District, Dutchtown South Community Corporation, Gene Slay’s Girls and Boys Club of St. Louis, Habitat for Humanity St. Louis, Lutheran Development Group, Original Crusoe’s Restaurant, St. Anthony of Padua, Thomas Dunn Learning Center, and Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation.

Last Friday, the Dutchtown Movie Night series got off to a unique start in the parking lot of Habitat for Humanity. Dozens of Dutchtown neighbors gathered for the ’90s summer classic Independence Day.

While last year’s summer series was entirely in Marquette Park, doing a drive-in movie in June allowed for better social distancing while the city still has limitations on outdoor events.

Dutchtown Movie Night will return to Marquette Park outside the Field House on Saturday, June 25th. More details on the movie night will be released next week. Watch this spot.

Marquette Park Planning Project

If you were at the drive-in movie, you may have seen the engagement display from PGAV Planners. PGAV will be working with Dutchtown South Community Corporation this summer on a planning document to guide the future of investment in Marquette Park.

Interested in getting involved with the Marquette Park planning project?  Take the survey to let the planners know what you would like to see next at Marquette Park. You can also learn more about Allies of Marquette Park and join them to build a stronger future for Marquette Park.