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Groundbreaking for Piazza Imo located on The Hill

ST. LOUIS – A future piazza wants to be the center slice of a proud neighborhood.

“Well, it’s a plaza, it’s a park,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson. “It’s a place for people to gather. So I think anytime you have a place where neighbors are gathering to get together to talk, that’s a positive thing.”

With shovels in hand, a handful of city leaders and Hill residents broke ground on a square next to St. Ambrose Catholic Church on The Hill. Its name: Piazza Imo.

“Most of the time, it’s just people gathering and walking and let’s sit down and enjoy the fountain and a sandwich from Amighetti’s or gelato and relax and enjoy life and a little park setting right in the middle of the city,” says Joe Ambrose, Piazza Imo committee member.

Wednesday morning in the shadow of the church, St. Ambrose parish members and neighbors gathered.

The $1.5 million Italian-inspired plaza will include an outdoor classroom for St. Ambrose students.

Private funding and donations are paying for Piazza Imo, no tax dollars will be used for the project.

“This being one of the last Italian ethnic neighborhoods in the country, a lot of people come from all over the United States with bus tours here,” says Phil Torrisi, Piazza Imo committee member. “This will be the gathering spot with the church here.”

“We’ve gotten away from people gathering just to enjoy each other,' says Father Vince Bommarito, pastor at St. Ambrose Catholic Church. “We’ve become a society where we always have to have a purpose and identity. This is a chance for us just to be and enjoy and relax.”

Piazza Imo should be in place by Thanksgiving this year. Granite and marble will arrive from Italy to complete the neighborhood addition.