ST. LOUIS – The rundown homes lining Red Bud Avenue are overflowing with trash, have caved in roofs, paint is peeling, and plenty of unkept greenery is growing all around. But to Alderman John Collins-Mohammed of Ward 21, those homes offer hope and opportunity.
“I picture a white picket fence a beautiful home with a child playing in the yard,” he said Friday. “I picture the type of homes that put communities used to have.”
Collins-Mohammed believes that dream could be turned into a reality, for the right price.
“The legislation I want to introduce is a dollar home program where the city would sell homes and vacant properties in the city`s land bank commonly known as LRA that would sell them to interested homeowners, developers or contractors,” he said.
But there is a catch to such steal of a deal.
“Stipulations come with it,” the alderman said, “you have to redevelop the home within a certain time period and have the financial stability to support your rehab.”
Resident Katie White said that if the legislation ever passes, she hopes it will help deter crime.
“There are a lot of older people living here that don`t want to move,” White said. “They would for their neighborhood to be built up so they can stay here, they’re afraid to sit out on the front sometimes because of the incidents that went on.”
Longtime resident, Jolease Marshall said he’s glad ideas are flowing but believes there is too much red tape in the way.
“The LRA is the reason that the properties in St. Louis are vacant and deteriorating because they`re sitting on them all, waiting on some developer to come swoop them up and then give them a sweetheart deal with tax breaks,” Marshall said.
Collins Mohammed said the idea has worked in other cities and is certain the same would be true for north St. Louis.
“Done in Kansas City, done in Baltimore done in Cleveland,” he said. “North St. Louis did not get like this in this condition overnight so we are not going to change it overnight.”
FOX 2 reached out to Laura Costello, director of real estate for the city, asking for a comment but our inquiry wasn’t immediately answered.
Collins-Mohammed said he plans to introduce the legislation at the Board of Alderman’s next scheduled meeting.