BADEN – It was a clean sweep over the weekend for one north St. Louis neighborhood. Better Family Life in partnership with the Regional Business Council held its third Clean Sweep project of the year.
In a grassroots effort, more than 300 volunteers worked in the Baden neighborhood, removing debris, picking up trash and beautifying the area.
Several construction companies, city workers and volunteers coordinated the demolition of at least seven condemned buildings throughout the area.
James Clark, the vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, said the Clean Sweep project shined a spotlight on blighted properties in the area.
“When you look at some of our more high-crime neighborhoods, vacant buildings are dominating the landscape, so we have to focus on them,” Clark said.
“But then when you look at a neighborhood like this in Baden where it’s mostly homeowners but you do have vacant buildings … we want to be able to save this neighborhood from becoming blighted, because vacant buildings breed more vacant buildings,” Clark finished.
Mayor Lyda Krewson was a part of the clean-up effort, voicing her support for residents of north St. Louis.
“We love it that you’re here,” Krewson said. “There are a lot of well-kept homes here. There are a lot of nice neighbors here, and we’re happy that we can help them just a little bit to maintain their block. We love having them here. We thank them for their investment and for being good residents of the city of St. Louis,” she said.
“We think by removing the worst of the worst in terms of buildings, that we make it a better neighborhood for the folks who live on this block. These good folks do not deserve to live next to these terrible, vacant buildings,” Krewson finished.
One volunteer, Jim Dunne, said the Clean Sweep project gave him the chance to help make a difference.
“It gives us a chance to come see how everybody lives,” Dunne said. “Everybody is the same deep down inside. They worry about the same things, they want the same things in their lives. They love their kids. So it’s just great for us to see that side of life that we really don’t get to see out in West County,” Dunne added.
Clark said, “We are bringing the resources in. We are very excited that support comes from throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. So this is a time for everybody to look at what can be done to resurrect St. Louis.”
For more information on the next phase of Operation Clean Sweep or to sign up as a volunteer, visit Better Family Life online at www.betterfamilylife.org.