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Fountain Park Residents Come Together In Park

December 9, 2008 Downtown 21 Comments

Last month I joined residents of the Fountain Park neighborhood (map) as they came together in the namesake park and raked leaves.

It was nice to see young & old alike out helping in their own neighborhood.

The park is stunning and in very good condition. The fountain needs some attention (it was drained for winter).  A woman who lives in one of the big homes facing the park came out to help.  She has lived there for 35 years.  She said the park used to be far more beautiful – well maintained and with flowers.  Plus she is not fond of the current color of the fountain – it used to be more subdued like the base is currently.

The park is pretty unique in the city –I can think of only a few others like it  – none being as grand.  The park is a gentle oval with houses facing it all around.  It is two blocks long.  Euclid Ave is bisected by the park although Police and others drive through the middle of the park on a sidewalk rather than going around.

The “Suburban Track” streetcar right-of-way runs along the bottom of the above aerial view.  Compared to parts East of Jefferson, this was very suburban.  But it was still walkable and connected via transit.

I’m glad I stopped by to help these residents — I did some leaf raking using one hand.

A good morning’s work.  I think they will continue neighborhood improvement efforts in the Spring.

 

Currently there are "21 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jim Zavist says:

    Compared to some of the blocks to the south, where it looks like half the homes have been demolished and replaced with vacant lots, a quality public amenity like this seems to have helped maintain the home values, and thus the structures, for those properties facing the park . . .

     
  2. john says:

    Well maintained local parks are more important than large front/backyards of individual homes if strong, cohesive and vibrant neighborhoods are desired. Abuse of public spaces by those entrusted with the public policies or law enforcement should never be tolerated whether it’s in Fountain or Forest Parks.

     
  3. Brian S. says:

    Beautiful – love me some Fountain Park.

     
  4. northside neighbor says:

    Well maintained local parks are more important than large front/backyards of individual homes if strong, cohesive and vibrant neighborhoods are desired. Abuse of public spaces by those entrusted with the public policies or law enforcement should never be tolerated whether it’s in Fountain or Forest Parks.

    What? How are well maintained parks more important than well maintained private yards.
    .
    Whose “abusing” public spaces? What I see are neighbors improving the park in their neighborhood. That’s what happens in good neighborhoods.
    .
    What an odd comment.

     
  5. ex-stl says:

    I interpreted John’s comment as a urban vs. suburban nature, that a good public park system is more of an asset to a region than individual and essentially unused lawns. but then personally I like a postage-stamp yard in a ‘hood with decent parks within walking distance.

    “What I see are neighbors improving the park in their neighborhood. That’s what happens in good neighborhoods.”

    I’d bet he sees that too.

    as for the abuse I think he was referring to vehicles cutting through on the sidewalks.

     
  6. Dennis says:

    I thought he was referring to vehicles cutting thru on sidewalks too. And I think that IS abuse. Heck, I thought policemen were supposed to set an example for the rest of us and do everything according to the laws and rules. Anyway, lets hope those neighbors all get together and form a neighborhood organazation and keep up the good work, or maybe revive an old one if they haven’t already. Good strong neighborhood groups could be the backbone of this city. I wanted to say ARE, but just say “could be”. Right now I think there are too many areas that have no neighborhood group, or they have let what they once had die out. Hats off to you Steve for what may turn out to be an on going good thing.

     
  7. James R. says:

    Are those vehicles cutting through the park on the Google Earth image?

     
  8. Dole says:

    I’ve always been FASCINATED by this park and have driven the oval many times. If this park were located south of Delmar each of those homes would be $1 Million plus. Great to see locals and people from other parts of the city cleaning up this park! I have to admit something personal, and hope I don’t get flamed for it…I’m scared to get out of my car driving in this area and many areas north of it. Perhaps seeing people “out and about” cleaning will make the area seem more friendly.

     
  9. rick bonasch says:

    Dole,

    Don’t worry about getting flamed. Just take some time and learn more about the area. There are a lot of good people there. Steve’s post proves it.

     
  10. LisaS says:

    I used to ride my bike through that neighborhood every morning when the Girl went to school up there in 2005-06. The people always smiled at me, and the only cars I ever saw on the sidewalks of the park belonged to the City Parks Dept. It’s a lot better now than it was back in ~1994 … except that most of the houses that have been updated have been “remuddled.” But at least they’ve been preserved enough that they could maybe be properly restored in the future ….

     
  11. Margie says:

    Thanks for bringing back delightful memories of a bike ride along the old streetcar right of way on a beautiful Sunday in St. Louis a few years ago. I too love that park!

     
  12. Eric says:

    Get out of the box… Many north side neighborhoods are coming around nicely. If everyone in the city let go of all of thier racial tension or fear for a day you would see a different St. Louis.

     
  13. Jason says:

    This would be a great place to find an inexpensive rehab. Granted its not the best time for most, but if you DO have money to spend on residential remodelling and rehabbing there is a vacant property with double lot on the north side of the park. Check the street view. The church is gorgeous.

    Thanks for posting about this gem.

    Jason

     
  14. Jason says:

    Sorry, meant to say on the south side of the park, just west of Euclid.

     
  15. bruce trivette says:

    can not wait to go over there and get some property so close the the west end proper, beautiful park , graceful shap and huge comback potential. this is awsome i cant sleep tonight i am so excited to go get something to restore and sit and wait for the Money int he Bank!!!

     
  16. ant knee says:

    I love the idea of bringing it back but there are more problems than are being admitted here. I have looked at houses to rehab in Fountain Park and Lewis Place. Yes, they are beautiful but they are in the middle of extremely high crime areas. “The Tracks” as it’s known on the streets is rife with crack, heroin and gangs. I love the optimism but make sure to temper it with reality.

    I was really close to buying a beautiful 5 bedroom, 7 fireplace, mansion (that’s what I would call it anyway) with walnut paneled walls, gorgeous staircases, old gaslight fixtures, the works – unreal – until taking the advice of a police officer and driving around the area on a warm night. I was advised to not stop, just drive and look around. Scary as hell. Now, if you had the money to buy a block or two (Maybe along Enright with Fountain and Lewis as regional anchors), then maybe you’d have a large enough foothold.

    Weren’t the Roberts brothers proposing a redevelopment of the area a couple of years ago (I think the RFT article was called “Kings of Kingshighway”)?

     
  17. bruce trivette says:

    Sorry to hear about the dealing in the area, stoped into the local fire dept and was told police new where the house it is happening in, and it would just be a matter of time before it woluld be eliminated. Neighborhoods come up a little at a time and i for one and doing my part in hopes of this area becomming very desirable again. As property continues to become more and more expensive in the west end the spill over has only one direction to move and that is North of Delmar. A park is a solid benefit to a neighborhood. If the cops drive through the park on the side walks one can be confident that this should curtail any shady activity. I for one will put in bright street lamps on my property , brightly light areas are great for cleaning up a neighborhood.

     
  18. Webby says:

    Is this sarcasm? Surely you don’t believe that eliminating illegal activity in one house will suddenly turn a neighborhood into Disneyland? Or that bright lights can’t be shot out (repeatedly)?

    I would love to see this neighborhood come back, but it’s going to take a lot more than one person moving in and installing prisonyard lighting.

     
  19. ant knee says:

    Just to clarify my earlier comment, I wasn’t referring to Fountain Park and Lewis Place proper but the areas around them (mostly Suburban Track and Academy areas). The Suburban Track has to be dealt with as it is an open air drug corridor. Look at the crime maps the city and others publish. Lewis Place and Fountain proper are bright spots but they are encircled by major and violent crimes – some of the highest rates in the city. And from seeing the activity (you can even see what certainly look like drug deals going down and prostitutes leaning in cars soliciting drivers in the middle of the day on Google street view if you “virtually” drive down some of these streets) there is low enforcement or under reporting of crime.

    I don’t want people to think I am some carpetbagger just dissing the city. I invest in the city and have been passionate about these areas since my youth. I talk to people in the heart of some of these crime areas (Enright and Walton area specifically). The “tracks” are well known and well used by the dealers and the users. It’s not just one house. On some blocks and in some neighborhoods it’s epidemic.

    That said, I’m still tempted by the gorgeous housing stock.

     
  20. bruce says:

    Have never been happier since buying in fountain park, stones throw from west end proper and just beautiful

     
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