‘Dear Lou’ letters from the St. Louis region

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – It’s sometimes easy to find fault in the world. But finding something of note can be a worthwhile endeavor. And the new Dear Lou campaign, a love letter to the region, is coming into focus with help from you.

“We want things to be better,” says Chris Krehmeyer, president and CEO of Beyond Housing. “The whole idea of the Dear Lou campaign is to tell us your dreams and aspirations for the place you call home St. Louis. What do you want it to be? What do you think it can be? Let’s get excited in those kinds of things and invest in places we haven’t invested in.”

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are the exclusive television partners of the campaign, focusing on the can-do spirit of St. Louis and the possibilities ahead for the Gateway City by addressing the high levels of poverty in underserved communities like the 24 that serve the Normandy Schools Collaborative.

“A couple things people have told us when we started a decade ago is we want our housing stock to be better, so we built hundreds of units of housing and rehabbed over one thousand homes,” says Krehmeyer. “We’ve invested in the built environment here in this part of town that have been struggling. But folks also said we don’t have grocery store or entertainment, so we built a grocery store and movie theatre. We brought a health facility and a bank and senior buildings. Listening to the voice of the community.”

Beyond Housing, a comprehensive community development organization, has been transforming parts of north St. Louis City and County through development, housing, park spaces, health care, and more.

The group asking for the public’s assistance to help decide what better serves St. Louis moving forward, knowing that the only way out and up for St. Louis is by picking ourselves up and making things right.

“It’s up to us,” says Krehmeyer. “The cavalry is not coming. We’ve known these problems exist and have for some time. We have not really addressed them. If we can come together, we can make sure the lives that have been affected so negatively we can turn that around. We’re looking at a 10-year campaign of $200 million to continue the investment in housing, economic development, education, and jobs. And we believe we can do that as a region and we’re all going to win. We’re all going to get better. St. Louis is going to get better.”

You can submit your ideas at www.onceandforall.org.

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