Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$46 Million to Rejuvenate Darst-Webbe

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$46 Million to Rejuvenate Darst-Webbe

Article excerpt

The federal government awarded St. Louis $46.7 million Thursday to replace most of the units at the Darst-Webbe complex with a new approach to public housing.

The city plans a mixed-use development at the Darst site. It will raze 758 high-rise units and build more than 1,000 low-rise units, some there and others in the immediate area.

The grant also will be used to revitalize the neighborhoods that surround the project, south of downtown.

Henry Cisneros, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, phoned Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. from the White House on Thursday afternoon with the announcement.

He said the grant to St. Louis was the biggest of eight that HUD awarded Thursday in a program to "reinvent" the agency's public housing program.

Bosley replied: "Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. This goes right in hand with our new football team. Now we have sports and money for neighborhood stabilization."

Cisneros joked: "It's not quite as much as the Rams are worth, but it's close." Then, perhaps making a football analogy, he said: "This is a breakthrough initiative where we try to make money available for the long run."

Cisneros, under assault by Republicans in Congress who want to reduce or eliminate the department, told Bosley the program was designed to "chart the new direction where housing authorities can go. . . . It's part of the reinvention of HUD and the principles that are driving that: more authority for local communities, more trust for local leadership, more following the vision and plans of local communities, maximum flexibility."

Other cities that got grants to revitalize public housing are: Detroit; El Paso, Texas; Indianapolis; Memphis, Tenn.; New York; Seattle; and Cisneros' hometown, San Antonio.

Brenda Drain-Williams, director of the St. Louis Housing Authority, stressed that the grant would assist a wide area around Darst-Webbe. The boundaries for the revitalization program are Market Street on the north, Broadway on the east, Arsenal Street on the south and Jefferson Avenue on the west. …

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