Dutchtown CID Celebrates One Year

It was a long time coming. This week last year, residents and business owners of Dutchtown got together at City Hall to attend a public hearing to show support for the establishment of a Community Improvement District.

There was a single dissenter present that day. His basic concern was that as a business owner he was already paying high property taxes, but when he realized he was the only dissenter in a room of a couple dozen supporters he aptly indicated, “It looks like I brought a knife to a gunfight.”

This wasn’t by accident. The establishment of the Dutchtown Community Improvement District didn’t occur in a vacuum. In fact it took several years from the initial backyard pow-wow amongst neighbors looking to do something about safety and trash in the neighborhood to the actual drive to get petition signatures.  

In the end, the Downtown Dutchtown Business Association spearheaded the effort with the help of representatives at SLDC. There were monthly public meetings at places like Crusoe’s, Merb’s, the Feasting Fox, and other local businesses to determine who among the Dutchtownies was willing to pay a little more in taxes to have local control over that money and determine how it would be spent to improve the neighborhood.

Once there was a core group of supporters, a map was drawn, re-drawn, and drawn a third time to determine how to balance size, need, revenue generation, and the quantity of absolutely essential owner-occupied supporters.

Next came the petition drive and what a drive it was! Dozens of volunteers spent their free time making phone calls, knocking on doors, and tirelessly searching the internet for contact information for out-of-state property owners to ask them to not only sign the petition, but have their signature notarized. It was a tiring process that lasted several months.

In the end, the Petition had more than enough support, over 50% of the owners of property and over 50% of the assessed value of property in the footprint of the Community Improvement District. Ultimately, with the support of Alderman Shane Cohn, the Dutchtown CID was officially passed and signed by Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The Dutchtown CID Board of Directors meeting at Crusoe's on May 24th, 2018. Photo by Nate Lindsey.
The Dutchtown CID Board of Directors meets at Crusoe’s on May 24th, 2018. Photo by Nate Lindsey.

Since passage, the CID Board has been meeting once a month on the third Thursday of each month along with subcommittees made up of CID board members and interested neighbors meeting monthly to discuss security, beautification, and marketing in the neighborhood.

Fast forward one year and the first annual budget has been approved by the board which will help fund new trash cans and trash pick, secondary police patrols, and new unified marketing efforts for the Dutchtown neighborhood. To learn more check out the Dutchtown CID Facebook Page and when these changes roll out this summer make sure to snap a photo and send it to us to help share the success!

You can learn more about the committees’ functions or view a listing of Dutchtown CID committee and board meetings here on DutchtownSTL.org.

Celebrate Preservation Month in Dutchtown

May is Preservation Month, when we celebrate places that matter to us and what makes them meaningful. Particular attention is paid to preservation of historic architecture, an ongoing endeavor throughout St. Louis and specifically in Dutchtown. Whether you’re just patching the roof of your old two-family, keeping your bungalow looking tidy, or gut-rehabbing a massive old building, your neighbors appreciate your commitment to preserving the built environment that makes Dutchtown special.

In honor of Preservation Month, we’re going to take a look at some previous preservation efforts in Dutchtown. Every year, the Landmarks Association of St. Louis bestows their Most Enhanced Places Awards to outstanding rehabilitation projects, notable additions to historic buildings, and/or new buildings that respect their historic context.

Dutchtown has had several Most Enhanced Award recipients over the years. Let’s take a look back at some of our winners.

5201-5203 Virginia

This mixed-use building with storefronts below and apartments above was a recipient of the Most Enhanced Award in 2017. The rehabbed building features restored pressed metal ceilings and woodwork. Dutchtown’s own Anthony Duncan was the architect on the project. You can get a peek inside this building at DT2’s After Hours with Pop-Up Professionals on June 20th.

2900 Cherokee

This three-story building at Cherokee and Nebraska received the Most Enhanced Award in 2016. The building features a fantastic cast iron store front. Twenty years of vacancy made this one of the more challenging projects on Cherokee Street, but Cherokee Street developer Will Liebermann breathed new life into this important piece of Cherokee’s fabric.

Fox Manor Apartments, 4700 Spring

The Fox Manor Apartments project was an unlikely candidate for an award usually bestowed upon buildings with a bit more storied history behind them. The mid-century low-rise apartments near St. Mary’s High School were long a trouble spot and an eyesore. But in 2014, Landmarks chose Fox Manor due to its benefits to the surrounding historic neighborhoods by improving aesthetics, safety, property values, and functionality.

2608-2610 Cherokee

2608-2610 Cherokee received the Most Enhanced Award in 2011 after surviving over fifteen years of vacancy and unfortunate mid-century alterations to its historic storefronts. Cherokee Street architect Peter Hammond used clues from an old photograph to piece together the brick, stone, and cast iron facade as it originally appeared.

Keep on preserving, Dutchtown! There’s still a project or two around the neighborhood. Maybe you can be the next Most Enhanced Award winner!

Dutchtown Bike Tour and Blessing of the Bikes

The Dutchtown Bike Tour and Blessing of the Bikes returns in 2018! This year the Bike Tour, which starts and ends at Urban Eats Café, will cross paths with the STL Open Streets event on Compton from Meramec to Cherokee.

The Blessing of the Bikes is a yearly tradition at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Prior to the blessing at 9:30am, young riders are invited to come by St. Anthony’s for a complimentary helmet adjustment and bike safety check. All are welcome to have their bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, or other wheeled personal transport blessed.

Map and information on the 2018 Dutchtown Bike Tour.After the Blessing of the Bikes, head one block down Meramec to Urban Eats to sign waivers and pick up a map (or download a PDF here in advance). The first 25 riders to arrive receive a free water and coupon for an Urban Eats snack or lunch later in the afternoon.

At 10:30am, the Bike Tour heads out from Urban Eats. The guided tour will take you through Dutchtown’s multiple parks and by a few other notable idyllic landmarks. The path is approximately three miles and will take a little over an hour to complete.

The last stop on the Bike Tour route is Marquette Park. Riders will come down Osage and round the corner at the KDHX Live Stage onto Compton with the Open Streets crowd cheering them on. They’ll then head back to the start at Urban Eats, arriving around 11:30am.

Riders looking to get some additional miles in are encouraged to continue on the self-guided tour of South Grand, Carondelet Park, the Christy Greenway, and the River des Peres Trail. The extended route is about a sixteen mile round trip.

The Dutchtown Bike Tour is brought to us by Trailnet, the Downtown Dutchtown Business Association, and Urban Eats Café.

Open Streets Coming to Dutchtown

As reported by NextSTL, STL Open Streets is relaunching in Dutchtown this year! On Saturday, June 2nd, Compton Avenue will be closed to cars from Cherokee to Meramec. Neighbors will be encouraged to walk, bike, and play in the open street.

Streets make up a large portion of and are the most visible public spaces within our urban environment. These spaces (streets) have largely come to be viewed as places for moving cars. They should be seen as the connective tissue of our communities, where people can move freely, connecting with other people, and to necessary goods, services, and amenities. When we dedicate these spaces only to cars, we miss out on the beautiful opportunities for chance interactions residents may have while walking, biking, or out enjoying their community…

By opening our local streets to better connect parks, business districts, neighborhoods, educational centers and other community resources, residents get the opportunity to experience an enhanced quality of life and promote a vision for the future of their neighborhood that fosters stronger use of public space, resources and amenities. Additionally, Open Streets events demonstrate the ease by which you can get to so many great resources while walking or biking and encourage a stronger street life for these experiences… By reclaiming our street space with these events, we have the chance to transform neighborhoods into well connected and sustainable places.

The Open Streets event on Compton coincides with the reopening of the Marquette Park Pool, the South Side’s only free public pool. The PIER (Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and Reentry) Public Health Resource Fair will also be taking place in Marquette Park. And KDHX will be presenting live music on the stage at Compton and Osage.

The Open Streets activities run from 11am to 2pm. Activities include sports and games, food and cooking demonstrations, art projects, public transportation presentations, and more. The Metro Mobile Market pop-up farmers market will be on hand.

Participating organizations include Trailnet, KDHX, Thomas Dunn Learning CenterMetroDowntown Dutchtown Business Association, and Revitalize St. LouisDutchtownSTL.org will also be there handing out free stickers and making postcards. Come get your gear and represent Dutchtown!

Dutchtown Bike Tour

Open Streets dovetails perfectly with the annual Blessing of the Bikes and Dutchtown Bike Tour! After a trip around the neighborhood beginning at Urban Eats Café, the tour will head down Compton through Marquette Park before wrapping up. Hop on the Bike Tour then join in at Open Streets! Read our post about the Dutchtown Bike Tour to find out more.

STL Open Streets Support Night

On Thursday, May 17th, two Cherokee Street businesses will be raising funds for STL Open Streets. Earthbound Beer and Yaqui’s Pizza will both be donating 10% of their proceeds for the evening. Both establishments open for business at 4pm. Come down and have a drink to help support this exciting event!

Buy a House in Dutchtown

Whether you’re new to the neighborhood, considering buying instead of renting, or just looking for a change of scenery, there’s always something for you in Dutchtown!

They say good things come in small packages. In this post we’ll be taking a look at some of the cozier offerings in Dutchtown. These smaller houses are great for renters who are tired of close quarters with the neighbors, folks looking to simplify and downsize, or singles and couples who want a backyard for their fur babies or summer cookouts.

Please note, we are not real estate professionals, we just have the strong opinion that you should consider our neighborhood. This post is not sponsored. The information presented below is accurate according to Zillow at the time of publishing.

4348 Compton

3 bedroom • 1 bath • 848 square feet • $104,900

This little castle on Compton can architecturally hold its own among anything St. Louis has to offer. Gorgeous details truly set this home apart. View on Zillow.

5531 Louisiana

2 bedroom • 1 bath • 971 square feet • $89,900

An open concept floor plan makes the most of the square footage in this baby bungalow. And everything has been redone, top to bottom. View on Zillow.

2207 Alberta

2 bedroom • 1 bath • 954 square feet • $59,900

You won’t find many freshly rehabbed homes at any size for this price. And look at that kitchen! View on Zillow.

2857 Osceola

3 bedroom • 2 bath • 1700 square feet • $120,000

At 1700 square feet, this isn’t quite “small,” but it’s definitely more than meets the eye. An impressive but diminutive facade gives way to three levels of living. This mini-palace in Mount Pleasant also offers lots of exposed brick and a huge deck in the back. View on Zillow.

5020 Alabama

2 bedroom • 1 bath • 1058 square feet • $75,000

This home makes the most of the shotgun cottages common to this part of Dutchtown with an open floor plan. The big, level back yard is a blank canvas for your gardening dreams. View on Zillow.