Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

State Senator gets input from North City residents on what to do with abandoned and vacant buildings

ST. LOUIS – A call to clean-up some of St. Louis City's most run down inner city neighborhoods.

On Monday night, it was a packed room at the O'Fallon Park Recreation Complex as local elected officials met with several residents to discuss ways of taking care of abandoned and vacant properties.

"We are here to do something about that," said State Senator Jamilah Nasheed who was invited as a key speaker.

"What we have to do as a community is to figure out how we take those buildings, bring them back up to code and allow for people to purchase those properties," Nasheed explained.

Nasheed said that she believes, a large portion of the city's crime is tied to properties sitting empty.

One such example is the January case of a 20-year-old man charged with the abduction and assault of a 12-year-old girl who was later found in a vacant building in north St. Louis.

"When we see children, who have to walk up and down the streets each and every day and all they see is decay, it begins to decay their mindsets," she said, "so we have to be able to change the dynamics."

Nasheed said that right now the city owns nearly 10,000 properties but she says people can't buy them.

"We have to get rid of 'red tape'," she said, "there was a study in 2011 that basically showed that the LRA was hoarding properties and not letting people purchase properties."

Meanwhile, youth mentor and city resident, Antwan Pope who founded 'The Journey Continues' said he has ideas that he believes can bring a positive change to inner city neighborhoods.

"I want to see my city heal, come back to life," Pope said, "I want to be a part of the development team. I think it's time for everyone to come together and stop pointing the finger at who is not doing what."

Nasheed said that she has been speaking with Mayor Lyda Krewson adding that she has been and receptive and is open to the idea of taking care of abandoned buildings.