Happy New Year Dutchtown, and welcome to 2020!  Unless you happen to believe that the decade doesn’t start until 2021, this is a brand new decade in the neighborhood. To mark the occasion, we have ten forward-looking “New Decade Resolutions” that give a sneak peak into the future of Dutchtown!

Thank you all for being our neighbors and building community here in Dutchtown. If you’d like to donate to Downtown Dutchtown’s efforts, click here to become a contributing member.

Dutchtown’s New Decade Resolutions

Meramec Street at Virginia Avenue looking east in the 1950s.

1. Celebrate the Past, Present, and Future of Dutchtown

Wondering what Dutchtown will look like in 2030? Us too! How about what Dutchtown looked like in 1930? This neighborhood is an old one that has experienced incredible changes. Stay tuned for a post featuring a historical overview of the neighborhood to learn more about the history of Dutchtown and where it is headed. Dutchtown is truly remarkable and this decade we are all a part of is Dutchtown’s history in the making!

2. Affirm the Resilience and Strength of All Your Neighbors in Dutchtown By Supporting Racial Equity Now and in the Future

Dutchtown is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in St. Louis. Census tract estimates in 2017 showed a demographic make-up that was 51.3% Black, 26.3% White, 11.5% Hispanic, 8.2% Asian, 2.3% Mixed, and .6% Other. While other neighborhoods in South St. Louis are seeing a decrease in non-white populations, we hope to continue to support Dutchtown’s current diversity by planning for the future with racial equity in mind. Learn more about these principles here.

3. Shop Local and Grow with Dutchtown’s UrbanMain Initiative

Many shops on Meramec and Virginia got their start during this past decade, and Dutchtown has great opportunities for entrepreneurs to find space for commercial activity in the 2020s. To expand on these opportunities, Downtown Dutchtown will be partnering with Missouri Main Street Connection for planning further growth along the primary commercial corridor in the neighborhood, thanks to the Urban Main Pilot Program Grant. Let’s all commit to shopping local in Dutchtown during the next decade! Spending your dollars locally on Dutchtown businesses helps us grow local jobs, neighborhood vitality, and the potential and prosperity of everyone in the neighborhood.

Children playing soccer at Marquette Park in Dutchtown.

4. Get Outside and See How our Neighborhood Can Flourish Around Marquette Park

Let’s face it, resolutions to get healthier always seem to be short-lived. How about a simple resolution to get out to your local park more often! In July of 2019, Allies of Marquette Park raised over $7,000 for improvements to the Marquette Park Pool. Funds will be spent on pool furniture. AMP plans to continue its work exploring new playground equipment, sports facilities, and ways to bring Marquette Park up to the standards that our kids and neighbors deserve. Get involved and maybe you’ll be resolving to play more outdoor basketball at Marquette Rec in 2025!

5. Walk or Bike Safely from Meramec up Gravois (and beyond!) on the Louisiana Calm Streets Project

Just west of Marquette Park will be the new Louisiana Calm Streets project breaking ground in Spring 2020 and finishing in late Fall 2020. This stretch of Louisiana between Meramec and Gravois is hopefully just the first phase of a project that could eventually connect south to Carondelet Park and north to Tower Grove Park. The improvements are meant to lower motorized traffic volumes and speeds to allow for safe, accessible routes for walking and biking. The project also seeks to enhance access to opportunity by connecting residents to transit connections and the ability to walk and bike to local destinations. View the complete proposal here. Thud thud thud went the jack hammer! Ding ding ding went the (bicycle) bell!

A variety of delicios tacos from Palacios Mexican Restaurant in Dutchtown, St. Louis.

6. Eat at Dutchtown’s Many Hidden Restaurant Gems

Dutchtownies are privy to some of the best kept food secrets in St. Louis! Some of them are older (Original Crusoe’s, Feasting Fox, Grbic, Banh Mi So 1, Urban Eats) and some of them are newer (Palacios, Dragon’s Place, Joyful House, Sol Azteca). Many of these restaurant owners live right here in the neighborhood! We are excited to see what new food ventures emerge in the next ten years, and you can help to keep your current favorite places cooking by bringing your friends to dine in Dutchtown.

7. Give Back to Help Organizations Making Dutchtown’s Future Bright

There are many great organizations working hard to realize a bright future for Dutchtown. Most of them asked for money at the end of the year, but that was like a whole decade ago. Check out this great list of local organizations you can donate to in the new decade!

8. Help Plan for the Future with Dutchtown South Community Corporation and the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Plan

The Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan gives residents a say in how their neighborhood should look in the future. This effort, undertaken by Dutchtown South Community Corporation with several other non-profits, created a community-informed comprehensive neighborhood planning guide to help direct investment for years to come. Dutchtown South Community Corporation will be work working with DeSales Community Development, Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC, and Lutheran Development Group to make the plan’s community recommendations a reality. Learn more about how you can get involved in this process and help implement the plan.

9. Budget Dutchtown’s Tax Dollars with the Dutchtown Community Improvement District

The Dutchtown Community Improvement District is interested in hearing ideas for bettering the district from Dutchtown neighbors and issued a Request for Proposals for capital improvement projects. While the deadline was technically December 31st, 2019, late applicants can check on submitting ideas to the CID at rfp@dtcid.org, and there will likely be more Requests for Proposals in the future. Since its inception, the Dutchtown CID has allocated almost 50% of its budget to safety and security, 12% to maintenance and beautification, 12% to marketing and development, and 5% to legal and administrative. Think that’s too much or too little in any given area? Make it a point to get to the next CID meeting on January 23rd, 5:30pm at the Neighborhood Innovation Center (see more below) and make your voice heard!

The Neighborhood Innovation Center on Meramec Street in Downtown Dutchtown.

10. Find a Place to Plan, Build, and Grow at the Neighborhood Innovation Center

The Neighborhood Innovation Center (also known as NIC-STL), located at 3207 Meramec Street, is a start-up social impact 501(c)(3) non-profit, fostering innovation in place-based neighborhood businesses.  This newly formed organization plans to offer coworking space, a neighborhood talent pool app for workers and businesses, a small business help desk, and other programs for neighbors and entrepreneurs. NIC-STL also hosts Downtown Dutchtown meetings on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm and Dutchtown CID board meetings on the last Thursday of the month at 5:30 pm.

Want to know more? Feel like we missed something? Are you yearning to tell all your neighbors about something amazing by publishing it on DutchtownSTL.org? Don’t keep it to yourself! Share with us at info@dutchtownstl.org and help us spread the good news about Dutchtown!