Dutchtown Summer Vibes will feature live music, food and drink, a job fair, community organizations, and of course shopping! Shop with our Downtown Dutchtown shops and boutiques as well as pop-up vendors from around the city. Grab a bite from the Urban Eats Neighborhood Food Hall or from other local food trucks and vendors. We’ll have bands and DJs at the Neighborhood Innovation Center, and drinks from Earthbound Beer.
We’ll also have employers and employment organizations seeking to hire folks in Dutchtown, as well as community organizations offering programs for the summer and beyond.
After a big day in Downtown Dutchtown, close out the evening with our first Movie Night of 2021! Come to Marquette Park at sunset for a free showing of Jurassic Park on our 22 foot big screen!
Join us at the Main Stage at the Neighborhood Innovation Center on the corner of Meramec and Compton for DJs, bands, and more all day! While you’re there, grab a beverage from our Earthbound Beer drink stand and a snack from our pop-up food vendors.
We’re still signing folks up, but here’s a list of our confirmed participants. Come out and support them!
Downtown Dutchtown is home to a variety of unique boutiques, vintage and modern resale shops, restaurants, and other retailers and services. We have lots of one-of-a-kind offerings at values that can’t be beat. Make sure to step in while you’re in the neighborhood.
DT2 • Downtown Dutchtown is at a critical point for capacity building. With the hiring of a part-time staff member and establishment of our UrbanMain committees, we are poised to grow and take on big challenges.
On Give STL Day, May 6th, we’re asking our neighbors and friends to help us continue growing and building momentum towards a better Dutchtown. Donate now!
This year, we are hoping to raise funds for a business facade grant program, an emergency needs fund, public art installations, small business training and capacity building services, and numerous community events. We know that building physical and economic infrastructure is just as important as building social infrastructure. We have a big vision, but we need your help to realize it!
Until recently, DT2 has been operated exclusively by volunteers. Through additional fundraising, we’ll be able to maintain a part-time staffer to help us organize our volunteers, apply for grants, raise additional funds, and streamline our operations. Building this additional capacity is key to our implementation of the UrbanMain initiative, a first of its kind program in Missouri that aims to revitalize our commercial corridors and the surrounding neighborhood.
Please help us to keep the momentum going!In spite of the health crisis we’ve all worked through over the last many months, DT2 has attracted more interest, brought on new volunteers, and produced more results for Dutchtown than ever before. We are ready to grow even more and we hope to take on bigger and better projects to deliver a stronger neighborhood for everyone.
With the amazing matching donation of up to $5,000 from Crawford-Butz Insurance, we can make great strides towards our goals of expanding capacity and providing more to our neighbors, businesses, and community at large. Please donate today!
Businesses within the UrbanMain district (roughly along Grand, Meramec, and Virginia) can apply for up to two grants to help with business development, marketing, operations, and more. Dutchtown organizations are ready and willing to help our businesses apply for these grants.
The application process is fairly simple and straightforward, and volunteers from DT2 · Downtown Dutchtown are ready and willing to help you apply. We can help you gather the minimal documentation required, along with developing a creative proposal to address your business’s unique needs.
You will be required to demonstrate any impact your business felt as a result of the pandemic. This may be a loss of revenue, a need to lay off staff, or other adverse effects suffered due to COVID-19.
Grant recipients must put forth 5% of the total value of the grant. So, for example, if you receive a $5,000 grant, you would be required to invest $250 of your own money.
You must have attended the grant workshop on April 8th, or you must work with a community representative who attended—don’t worry, several volunteers from DT2 were at the workshop and they’re ready to help you!
You’ll also need a letter of support from DT2—and we’re happy to help with that too!
There are over a dozen types of grants that businesses can apply for (though each business can only apply for one or two grants). But in addition to the categories below, applicants are also encouraged to be creative—tell MMSC what your business needs, and grants may be available.
Below are a few examples of grants your business may consider applying for. Again, feel free to get creative! If your business has unique needs (and they all do), we can help tailor your application to demonstrate those needs.
Direct Entrepreneur Support in Retail and Restaurant Development
Get grants to help you strengthen your business range in amounts from $2,260 to $6,900. These grants can be used for business evaluation, developing a business plan, implementing business solutions, local sourcing identification, developing operational growth initiatives and shifts, and establishing business promotions.
Get a Business Evaluation
Have professional consultants assess the state of your business and make suggestions for improvement such as maintaining inventory, getting on top of new trends, or merchandising your shop in a more appealing way. Grants for business evaluations are available for $2,260, requiring an initial 5% match of $113.
Build a Business Plan
Does your business have a formalized business plan? Apply for assistance developing your plan with trained business consultants. Lay out a roadmap for building your business to be financially secure, operationally efficient, and ready for growth. Grants for business plans are available from $2,760 up to $4,710. Your 5% initial investment would be $138 to $235.
Implement Business Solutions
After assessing your business’s needs, consultants can offer and implement solutions to address issues such as staffing, bookkeeping, and financing. Grants for business solutions range from $2,760 to $5,060 and require an upfront match of $138 to $253.
Local Sourcing Identification
Multiply your support for the local economy by sourcing your products from other local businesses. Get help finding nearby inventory, shortening your supply chain, and keeping business local. These grants are available from $2,260 to $5,060, requiring a 5% match of $113 to $253.
Operational Growth Initiatives and Shifts
Looking to grow? Consultants will help you plan to add staff, expand your shop, or open additional locations. Operations grants range from $2,300 to $4,600 and need an upfront match of $115 to $230.
Develop Business Promotions
Create a promotion plan built around special sales, events, and more that will help you build a broader customer base. Promotion grants are available from $2,300 to $6,900. An initial 5% match of $115 to $345 will be required.
Build your new e-commerce platform to attract customers who might not otherwise make it to your front door. Grants for website development are available in the range of $4,600 to $8,000.
Build Your E-Commerce Website
Did you find your customers asking if they could shop online during the pandemic, but you had nowhere to send them? Apply for a grant to develop a website and online shop for your business. Professional developers will help you build a web storefront to attract customers who may not be able to visit your shop in person. Grants for website development range from $4,600 to $8,000. The 5% initial investment would be $230 to $400.
Economic Vitality Toolkit
Plan for your business’s ongoing success with grants from $4,260 to $11,960. These grants can be used to prepare a business marketing plan or an owner succession plan.
Individual Business Marketing Plan
Get a custom tailored marketing plan for your business covering a wide range of opportunities to expand your reach. These marketing plan grants are available in amounts from $9,200 to $11,960. The initial match would be $460 to $598.
Business Owner Succession Plan
If you’re considering retiring, selling your business, or otherwise gracefully exiting from your current operation, consultants can help you plan the next steps. Succession plan grants range from $4,260 to $8,060, requiring a 5% match of $213 to $403.
Micro-Business Development Services
Experimental business models can get off the ground with grants from $2,260 to $6,080. These grants include featured artisans utilization and cooperative business models for testing market potential.
Featured Artisans Utilization
Expand your business’s offerings by partnering with local makers. Create an exclusive new retail line with a local designer or craft a special menu by partnering with area farmers. These grants are available in amounts from $2,260 to $5,060, requiring a 5% match of $113 to $253.
Cooperative Business Models
Test new businesses and ideas by partnering with existing businesses. These grants range from $4,260 to $6,080. You must provide the initial match of $213 to $304.
E-Commerce Sales Training
Get help developing your online presence with grants ranging from $1,800 to $8,260. Use grants to develop a business social media marketing plan, explore advertising tactics, increase social media engagement, diversify your customer base, and utilize and increase sales on online platforms.
Business Social Media Marketing Plan
Social media consultants can help you get on a variety of platforms and develop a plan to attract and target new and existing customers. You can apply for grants ranging from $4,600 to $7,360, which would require a 5% match of $230 to $368.
Consultants will discuss your business goals with you, then develop an advertising plan to help you reach those goals. This grant is for $1,800. A match of $90 is required.
Social Media Engagement
Work with a social media consultant to expand your reach and engage with new and existing customers. An $1,800 grant is available which would require a 5% match of $90.
Diversify Your Customer Base
Learn how to expand your customer base with market-driven strategies to attract new customers. Grants range from $2,300 to $5,060, requiring an initial match of $115 to $253.
Increase Sales on Online Platforms
Do you already sell online? Learn how to make your online storefront more effective to drive greater sales. This grant ranges from $2,600 to $8,260. A match of $130 to $413 is required.
Building a Strong, Vibrant, Resilient, and Thriving Dutchtown for Neighbors and Local Businesses
There’s no denying that 2020 was a difficult year. An unprecedented health crisis and the resulting economic downturn have hit people and small businesses hard.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everyone’s life. In spite of that, Downtown Dutchtown continued to build a stronger Dutchtown neighborhood. Both DT2 and the neighborhood are forging a path forward and building momentum not otherwise seen in Dutchtown over the last decades.
Today we’re asking for your help to continue DT2’s mission of promoting a thriving community and shared prosperity by facilitating economic development and fostering opportunity in the Dutchtown neighborhood. Through this mission, we aim to attract diverse ownership, promote places, spaces, and faces, and increase occupancy.
In 2021, we’re seeking to develop a strong base of sustaining donors to help us achieve our mission and build a stronger Dutchtown for everyone. Our goal is to raise $10,000 in annual sustaining donations this year. Your monthly contribution of $10, $25, or $100 goes a long way to our cause.
Though DT2 has been entirely volunteer driven since its inception, in 2020 we were able to hire a part- time staffer to help expand our efforts. Our Dutchtown Growth Manager brings skills and experience that will help us apply for grants, increase volunteerism, promote the neighborhood, and serve the Dutchtown community like never before. Your sustaining donation helps us to further lay the groundwork on which we build a resilient and thriving Dutchtown. Please become a sustaining donor today.
DT2 has partnered with Missouri Main Street Connection on a first-of-its-kind program in the state. The initiative uses a four point approach that has been successful in reviving historic downtowns in cities across the country and adds a fifth point to address the need of urban neighborhoods like ours. The five points are Organization, Economic Vitality, Promotion, Design, and Safe Clean & Green.
The partnership with Missouri Main Street is a three year project focusing on Downtown Dutchtown that will revitalize our neighborhood’s core and help DT2 develop strategies to implement throughout the Dutchtown neighborhood.
Activating Marquette Park
While the ability to gather with our neighbors was limited by COVID-19, DT2 teamed up with other Dutchtown organizations to bring people together at Marquette Park for activities such as Movie Nights.
Dutchtown welcomed several new and revamped businesses in the past year. Despite the ongoing health crisis and economic downturn, entrepreneurs invested their money and time to follow their dreams in Dutchtown.
Urban Eats launched their reimagined Shared Kitchen and Neighborhood FoodHall concepts. Diners have flocked to the new eateries at Urban Eats. Juanita’s Creole Soul has received critical acclaim for their soul food with a twist. Tacos La Jefa went from serving their birria tacos from their backyard to serving lines of customers at their brick and mortar space. And Perfectly Pastry offers up morning coffee, pastries, and desserts, a niche long unoccupied in Dutchtown. Down Virginia Avenue, Shay’s Donuts also brings breakfast treats to the neighborhood, and work is underway at the former Iron Barley to reinvent the space to a new restaurant.
New shops have come to Downtown Dutchtown as well. Newcomers include Kwamboka, a shop selling clothing, gifts, and other merchandise; Forget Me Not Boutique, specializing in new women’s clothing, accessories, and body care; and Melanin Made Beauty, selling hair and beauty products as well as a range of resale clothing. New barber shops and beauty salons opened on Meramec as well. And Cross Grand established their new brick and mortar location. The business, operated by Dutchtown residents, offers photography, videography, event planning, and more.
Established businesses pushed forward through the pandemic as well. Downtown Dutchtown saw Diana’s Boutique expand into a larger space on Meramec and team up with Thrift $#!& to provide an opportunity to an upstart business. The Original Crusoe’s Restaurant has soldiered on in their 40th year, dishing out their classics for carryout and limited dine-in seating. Logan’s Kids Resale provides virtual shopping opportunities to their customers. Our neighborhood businesses continue to adapt to an ever-changing situation, providing the goods and services our neighbors need while also protecting their safety.
Although many of our businesses have struggled during the pandemic (as have businesses across the country), we’ve been excited to see many of these spaces quickly fill back up. Entrepreneurs see opportunity in Dutchtown, and we’re bullish on the future for our neighborhood businesses both established and new.
Welcome to Dutchtown, a neighborhood that bears the weight of our city’s past and stands tall in the truth of who we are today. We are St. Louis’s most populous and densest neighborhood. We are a neighborhood that has experienced growth, contraction, and growth again. We are Dutchtown Proud.
We are proud to be a part of one of the most diverse, gritty, and forward thinking neighborhoods in St. Louis. Proud to look for prosperity here. Proud to tell the doubters why we call Dutchtown home.
We call Dutchtown home by choice. We choose to come together and build community with neighbors who may not look or live their lives exactly the same. We respect our neighbors’ right to choose Dutchtown, regardless of who they are, who they love, what they look like, what they do for a living, or what circumstances brought them here.
We also produced a video highlighting what makes us all proud to be residents and business owners in Dutchtown. You can find the video at dutchtownstl.org/proud.
Big Plans for 2021 and Beyond
DT2 and the Dutchtown neighborhood had a successful 2020 despite facing unprecedented challenges. Investment is increasing, interest in the neighborhood is high, and we have a fantastic foundation and partners to build a vibrant and equitable community in Dutchtown in the years to come. But our work has only just begun.
We’re asking for your assistance to help continue our mission in 2021 and beyond. A monthly contribution of $10, $25, or $50 helps us to bring resources and reinvestment to Dutchtown and plan a brighter future for all of our residents and business owners. Become a sustaining donor today.
The DT2 Agenda for 2021
The UrbanMain Initiative
The UrbanMain initiative is a three year pro- gram during which we’ll be working closely with the professional staff at Missouri Main Street Connection to implement the 4 + 1 Point Approach. Learn more at dutchtownstl.org/urbanmain.
DT2 After Hours, our monthly happy hours in support of neighborhood businesses, will resume in the spring of 2021. While safety will be the preeminent concern, we believe it’s still important that we continue to bring our community together and bring attention to our new and established businesses. Keep an eye on our Dutchtown calendar for more After Hours and other events.
DT2 will continue to work closely with the Dutchtown Community Improvement District to promote and improve the vital corridor running through the center of our neighborhood. After helping to form the CID in 2017, we’re proud to see our efforts coming to fruition with infrastructure improvements and the development of new strategies for safety, beautification, and promotion.
The Neighborhood Innovation Center has been an invaluable partner over the last year, providing a space to safely gather for outdoor events, technology to hold remote meetings, and becoming Dutchtown’s de facto community center as they continue to develop their long term organizational goals. The NIC will be an integral part of community building in Dutchtown.
Organizations such as Thomas Dunn Learning Center, Employment Connection, and the Cure Violence program, as well as our neighborhood schools and congregations and our elected officials will all have a seat at the table beside our residents and business owners to ensure that our work continues to be guided by a diverse array of voices from within the Dutchtown community.
Support DT2 Today!
DT2 has long operated with only a shoestring budget and volunteer staff. This year, we hope to take our work to the next level.
With our new Dutchtown Growth Manager and our work with organizations like Missouri Main Street Connection, opportunities and resources previously unavailable to us are coming into view.
But right now, we need funds to continue our ongoing work of building community and promoting the Dutchtown neighborhood through marketing, events, and other outreach.
DT2’s 2021 Fundraising Goal: $10,000 in Sustaining Donations
We’ve made it easy to continue your support for DT2 · Downtown Dutchtown. Simply go to dutchtownstl.org/donate where you can opt to make a recurring or one-time donation. Recurring donations will automatically be debited from your account monthly.
With nearly $3,000 already committed for 2021, we can reach our goal when 25 more people donate $25 a month. But contributions in any amount are greatly appreciated and go a long way to helping DT2 continue our important mission of promoting a thriving community and shared prosperity by facilitating economic development and fostering opportunity in the Dutchtown neighborhood.
We also still accept donations by check. You can send your check payable to DT2, 3207 Meramec Street, St. Louis, MO 63118.
Spring is off to a great start at Marquette Park! Neighbors are already taking advantage of the nicer weather to get out and enjoy the space that sits at the center of Dutchtown. We’ve long recognized Marquette Park as an incredible asset for our neighborhood, but there is plenty of work yet to be done.
Marquette Community Day Kickball Tournament
So far, we’ve already held a kickball tournament in support of Marquette Community Day. MCD is a massive back to school event that takes place in the park in August. They provide backpacks, school supplies, clothing, haircuts, and more to help Dutchtown kids start their school year off right. We had sixteen teams take to the fields and dozens of spectators came to root them on. See more photos here.
The official tournament was originally scheduled for the end of March, but that was a blowout—sustained winds of 30 miles per hour with some serious gusts made it nearly impossible to play. We postponed the games, but we still made the most of a day at the park. Neighbors played music and grilled wings and brats, kids and parents played, and someone had the foresight to bring kites!
More Sunday Fun at Marquette Park
We had so much fun on these Sunday afternoons that we want to make it a regular thing. Coming soon: South Side Sundays at Marquette Park! Keep an eye out for more details to come.
Sundays are a great time to visit Marquette Park. Enjoy the playground and the green space, and stick around to catch a Liga Latina soccer game.
Summer Fun On the Way
We’re excited to announce that for a third year in a row, we’ll be hosting Movie Nights at Marquette Park! These events have brought neighbors together, even through the pandemic, to enjoy the park, learn about community activities, and take in some family friendly entertainment. We’ll have three Movie Nights in the park this summer:
Saturday, June 5th
Saturday, July 24th
Saturday, August 28th
We’re hoping to make that final summer Movie Night a Dive-In Movie at the pool—which we’re so happy to see reopen this summer! Having a big, free, public pool right in the middle of our neighborhood is an amazing asset for the kids and families in Dutchtown.
And the Marquette Recreation Center is another great resource for our neighborhood kids. This summer, the Rec Center will host basketball, boxing, and other camps that are filling up fast.
Dutchtown South has organized the Common Sound Festival at the park in September, which brings neighbors together through music and dance. They’ve organized a storybook walk to bring the joy of reading to neighborhood kids. And DSCC has been alongside our neighbors as we continue to push for improvements at Marquette.
Allies of Marquette Park held a fundraiser in 2019 that raised over $7,000 to provide chairs and lounges for the otherwise unfurnished pool. We’re hoping to put the new furniture in place as the pool opens this year. AMP has been at the forefront of planning events and attracting interest and investment in Marquette Park.
Challenges at Marquette Park
While we love to accentuate the positives in Marquette Park and throughout Dutchtown, we have to note that we’ve struggled to get the needed improvements we want to see at Marquette. Marquette Park is improving through hard work from our neighbors and in spite of a number of obstacles.
Pains at the Pool
The Marquette Park Pool has long been surrounded by a chain link fence topped with strands of barbed wire. For years, we have requested that the barbed wire come down. It won’t effectively prevent the occasional trespassing that may occur, and in fact may be a greater liability to the city (read our letter on that subject).
But more importantly, fencing in our kids and families with such harsh and unpleasant surroundings conveys a message that pool patrons are less than welcome. Our pool should not look like a prison. We’ve asked time and time again for the barbed wire to be addressed, and received little in response aside from a few broken promises.
Aside from the barbed wire and the lack of pool furnishings, the locker rooms (and the Rec Center which contains them) are in rough shape. The facilities could use major upgrades, but instead suffer from a lack of even basic maintenance.
Struggles for Soccer Players
Allies of Marquette Park have also been working to get improvements to the soccer facilities at the park. Though the soccer field is regularly utilized by Liga Latina, youth soccer teams, and neighbors just out to kick the ball around, the facilities are nearly nonexistent. A couple of rotten wood goal posts without nets mark either end of the pitch, which is pockmarked by potholes and puddles. The players often come out ahead of time to mow the field and paint lines themselves.
Making Due on Movie Nights
Since we schedule our Movie Nights far in advance, we give ample notice to the city that a large group of residents will be in the park at a specified time. We call months, weeks, and days in advance to request that trash is removed and grass is cut. These requests usually go unheeded.
Before every Movie Night, our volunteers make sure to allot time to pick up the trash that accumulates around the Field House and across the park. Trash cans are usually overflowing, so we must pack the trash up and take it out to nearby alley dumpsters. To make sure we leave the park better than we found it, our volunteers and a hired crew stay into the dark to ensure everything is properly cleaned up.
We also invite the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to send community engagement officers to our Movie Nights—not necessarily out of security concerns, but rather to give the police an opportunity to meet and interact with the community they serve. The police arrive, station themselves at the edge of the park nearly out of view, and never get out of their vehicles.
Field House Failings
The beautiful Marquette Park Field House was renovated at significant cost within the last decade. However, it was severely underutilized and quickly fell into disrepair, either due to the quality of the rehab work or the lack of basic ongoing maintenance. Elevators and air conditioning systems have failed, making the Field House inaccessible and inhospitable for events we may have liked to hold there—provided the city would provide a permit and work with us on the exorbitant rental fees.
The restrooms in the Field House are also malfunctioning. As a result, we have to provide portable restrooms at all of our events. The cost to do so comes from an already tiny non-profit budget. (If you’d like to help us stretch that budget a bit further, you can donate here.)
The Future of Marquette Park
We have a community in Dutchtown that wants and needs to use Marquette Park. We have a strong and growing contingent of neighbors and community stakeholders putting forward their own time, sweat, and funds to do the best we can with our limited resources.
But city leadership hasn’t invested the time or resources to develop this wonderful asset in the center of Dutchtown that could serve so many people who need places to go and things to do. Marquette Park sits in the middle of a neighborhood that has more people per square mile than anywhere else in the city. Nearly 40% of our neighbors are under the age of 18, and median household incomes are well below average for St. Louis.
Dutchtown neighbors deserve to feel welcome and safe at Marquette Park. We want grass cut, trash taken out, and barbed wire removed. We want a clean and safe Rec Center. We want functioning restrooms. Our neighbors and our neighborhood deserve these things.
Alderwoman Cara Spencer in the 20th Ward and Alderman Shane Cohn in the 25th Ward have both supported and pushed for improvements at Marquette Park. But it’s important to note that most of the directions and decisions regarding city parks come from the executive branch—the Mayor’s Office and the Board of Public Service.
With the inauguration of Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, we’ve made an appeal to her and the city for renewed interest and investment in Marquette Park. We hope we have a willing and able partner in Mayor Jones and her team. We hope for a commitment to building a better Marquette Park and a stronger Dutchtown. Mayor Jones and the City of St. Louis will have a dedicated group of neighbors behind them. We hope to see them here soon.
If you’re reading this and you’re not in the Mayor’s Office, but you’d still like to help, you can make a one-time or sustaining donation to help us carry on our work in Marquette Park and throughout Dutchtown.