Bill Pulte, founder of The Blight Authority, a nonprofit organization that has cleared blight in Detroit and Pontiac, today launched The St. Louis Blight Authority with Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square, and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The St. Louis Blight Authority has established a Blight Elimination Zone in the city’s Wells Goodfellow neighborhood, which will be part of a larger, holistic approach to removing blight.
“We are removing four city blocks of blight in three days in one of the largest coordinated blight removal efforts in St. Louis history,” says Pulte, CEO of Pulte Capital Partners in Pontiac. “We have been very successful in other cities, such as Pontiac, in nearly removing all blight, and we hope to take this successful model across the city of St. Louis.
“St. Louis has over 7,000 vacant buildings, and we believe that with the proper support from the private sector and leadership in government, St. Louis can be a blight-free city by 2035.”
The area contains more than 130 lots between Cote Brilliante Avenue, Maffitt Avenue, Clara Avenue, and Belt Avenue. In total, 30 buildings will be demolished, 18 by the authority and 12 by the city. The authority will also clear more than 130 lots and eight acres of vacant lots and alleys. The lots will be seeded for people to enjoy or acquire.
“Our First Blight Elimination Zone is home to 59 amazing families, many whom have children, that have waited decades for blight to be removed from their neighborhood,” says Dorsey. “Today, we have taken large-scale action to remove the blight from four city blocks, and as a result, these families will now live in a safer and more beautiful neighborhood.”
The authority removed more than 10 city blocks, or 210 properties of blight in 10 days from Detroit. A second Detroit effort removed more than 14 city blocks, or 714 properties in 20 days. In Pontiac, the authority helped remove more than 900 abandoned homes, and the city is expected to be blight-free by the end of this year.
“Bill Pulte and Jack Dorsey’s creation of the St. Louis Blight Authority gives us another tool to address vacancy,” says Krewson. “St. Louis has great partners in the private sector including the Regional Business Council and Better Family Life and their Clean Sweep Initiative, and the Green City Coalition’s Urban Greening Program. All of these tools are instrumental in addressing vacancy in a comprehensive way.”