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Clean Sweep targets blight in the Greater Ville neighborhood

Clean Sweep targets blight in the Greater Ville neighborhood


ST. LOUIS — Ten vacant homes and a garage in the Greater Ville were demolished Saturday as part of the third Clean Sweep event of 2019.

One of the houses demolished used to belong to Vanessa Brown, who has lived in the north St. Louis neighborhood since she was 12.

After she bought a property across the street from the Land Reutilization Authority, she realized the roof was in worse shape than she originally thought. She gave the city permission to take it down.

Brown is glad to see other abandoned, broken buildings in the 3000 block of Vine Grove Avenue demolished. In fact, she’s been praying for it.

“It feels so good to see this,” Brown said. “If I could do a flip, I would show you (how good it feels).”

She’s already looking ahead to what’s next.

“I would like to see this area developed again,” she said. “Maybe if they could build some two-family dwellings for young families, or for those interested in being homeowners.”

Operation Clean Sweep, launched in 2017 by Better Family Life along with the Regional Business Council, aims to clean up St. Louis a neighborhood at a time by removing dead trees, cutting away overgrown brush, hauling away trash and demolishing buildings that can’t be repaired.

The program in the past has relied entirely on volunteers, including contractors who have contributed crews and equipment. This year, the city is contracting and paying for the pre-demolition and post-demolition work, according to Laura Ginn with the St. Louis Development Corp. But volunteers are still a big part of the effort.

Earlier Clean Sweeps this year targeted the Hamilton Heights and Baden neighborhoods. The next, which is scheduled on Oct. 26, will be in Walnut Park East.

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