Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hot Dogs, Cool Name They're 1st Steps in a Fresh Start for Neighborhood

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hot Dogs, Cool Name They're 1st Steps in a Fresh Start for Neighborhood

Article excerpt

A neighborhood group south of Tower Grove Park is hoping that hot dogs and a new street name will help overcome the bad memories of a jumbled drug raid in which police wounded two of their own.

The style stuff is a start, anyway. Leaders of the 3100 block of Alfred Avenue know they need to permanently improve the buildings that once gave shelter to a brazen street-corner drug trade.

The hot dogs are the easiest part. The Parkside South Neighborhood Association plans to give them away from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at a block party, an event billed as a revival of Alfred Avenue.

The association also wants to rename the 3100 and 3200 blocks of Alfred as Parkside Place. That requires evidence of resident support and an act of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Ken Chafin, president of the association, said he is confident of the support and plans to hand letters of endorsement Sunday to city officials.

"Our objective is to take the stigma away from Alfred," Chafin said. "We chose `Parkside Place' because the Parkside South organization is our greatest strength.

"We feel that by changing the name, we're also changing the neighborhood," he said.

Alfred is part of a small neighborhood bounded by Kingshighway to the west, Arsenal Street to the north, Morganford Road to the east and the American National Can Co. plant to the south. It's a mix of modest homes and apartment flats, some in need of work - such as the four four-family flats in a row just north of Juniata Avenue and Alfred. That's where a group calling themselves the 31 Al's sold drugs and made noise late into the mornings.

And that's why six plainclothes police officers rushed a crowd on the evening of Nov. 3, 1993. But in the confusion and darkness of a breezeway, officers shot and wounded two of their own, one critically.

The wounded officers, Scott Collier and Edward Halveland, have recovered and are back at work. One of the flats has been renovated into a two-apartment building, but two look much as they did in 1993, and one is vacant, with some of its windows smashed. …

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