- Narrative Description of Development Project
The Developer desires to redevelop the Winstanley Park neighborhood into an identifiable community that includes housing, community services and neighborhood business. The work will include limited renovation of some existing structures, new attached and detached single family housing units, new commercial/retail space, neighborhood park space, ball fields and playground space and expansion of Mt. Sinai Community Center and Church. A map of the Project Area which illustrates the proposed Development Project is attached at Schedule B-1.
The urban core of East St Louis is in dire need of restoration with many miles of vacant lots and unused buildings spread throughout the area. This “empty” look has been created by a mass exodus from the city and has resulted in a feeling of hopelessness for those who remain. There is an uncommon need for strategic investment in the restoration of these neighborhoods and communities. We believe viable, long-term systematic change will only occur through the mobilization of community resources, and that people are the essential resource.
We also realize that this kind of sustainable systemic change happen one neighborhood at a time. Our initial focus is a portion of the Winstanley Community: bounded by Martin Luther King Avenue (Illinois Avenue) to the north, 15th Street to the east, Missouri Avenue to the south and 10th Street to the west. We are involved in this neighborhood, as our Church is located on St. Louis Avenue the main thoroughfare in this neighborhood and a partnership with the New Salem Baptist District Association to build a low-income senior housing unit across the street from our Church. The first phase of single –family housing, Sinai Village was developed on the 12 00 and 1300 Blocks of Martin Luther King and Cleveland. We will continue to address the problems in this target area. This intentional step-by-step method has borne much fruit and we are beginning to see it spark broader interest in restoring the community we serve.
The success of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and the Sinai Family Life Center and the Mt. Sinai Development Corporation has been rooted in the willingness of people to be involved in the process of restoration. As people in the community partner with those willing to relocate into the urban core and work towards restoration, they produce significant ‘change. These are people who “own” the problem and are capable of developing workable, sustainable solutions.
Help from outside the community is critically needed. To be most effective, this assistance needs to be combined with the resources and people within the community. Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church is located within the community and is dedicated to meeting long term needs. This people to people involvement enables us to move toward a seamless coordination of services.
- Key Observations
Through the analysis of the existing conditions of the neighborhood, the following key observations have been made that has helped guide the planning process.
First, the neighborhood possesses many important resources that will benefit the restoration process. These include the community’s long-term residents and the landmark buildings, including churches and historic homes, all of which provide a strong framework for a successful neighborhood plan. Second large areas of vacant land and abandoned buildings provide opportunities to address the need for park and recreation facilities. Third the new construction of a low-income senior housing project, New Salem Place and Sinai Village, have provided a focus for the entire neighborhood. The continued development of single family homes with additinal phases of Sinai Village is critical. Fourth, the expansion of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and its ministries will provide even more stability for the neighborhood. Finally, St. Louis Avenue runs north and south through the neighborhood and is a main artery to and from the central downtown of East St. Louis. It will also provide the opportunity to serve as the gateway entrance to the neighborhood.
- “Holistic” & “Strengths-Base4” Approach
All individuals, families, and communities have strengths, and yet at times in their lives, need substantial support. Based upon our experience throughout the years, we have seen that a combined holistic and strengths-based approach to restoration is the most effective. This method of building healthy sustainable communities is facilitated by the integration of the four basic “building blocks” of community development:
– building homes
– building businesses (job training and economic opportunity)
– building home-based family services (medical, legal, and social services), and
– building education (tutoring, schools, and mentoring men and women).
- Partnering – A Necessity
We realize that this restoration effort is a tremendous task well beyond our ability to accomplish on our own. Our history has been one of partnering with available resources, agencies and services in effecting solutions. We see our role as providing support to the existing strengths of the communities and initiating new opportunities that lead to sustainable, ongoing growth.
- Design Principles
- Build on the opportunity created by the New Salem Place construction and the first phase of Sinai Village to stimulate neighborhood revitalization in the areas of housing, education, human services, and economic development.
- Rebuild a stable, affordable, mixed-income neighborhood that is dignified and inspirational.
- Build housing consistent with the historic neighborhood character that possesses no visible difference between subsidized and market-rate homes.
- Build on and connect to existing neighborhood strengths while repairing problems and coordinating with adjacent neighborhood planning efforts.
- Create beautiful parks, public spaces, and streets that provide ample settings for community life and neighborhood pride.
- Establish an appropriate relationship between industrial, commercial and residential uses.
- Build/revitalize neighborhood retail and economic development opportunities at key intersections that are consistent with the neighborhood’s historic character and attractive to new markets.
- Revitalize and beautify major public streets such as St. Louis Ave., Martin Luther King Ave., Missouri Ave., and 101h Street.
We are seeking partners who will join with us by helping fund our start-up and land acquisition costs. With the increased support, we will be even more effective in building healthy individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities in East St. Louis, IL.
- Project-Sinai Village
Sinai Village will consist of the following: single family homes, multifamily housing, including townhouses and condominiums and garden apartments, senior retirement facility, child development center, adult and children daycare, Church, Family Life Center, business-retail and service, recreation-community parks and ball fields.
The initial phase of construction consisted of forty (40) units of senior housing that were have been added to the community. The residential piece of the project will bring an additional 139 new housing units to the community; 60 homes already completed in the first and second Phase of Sinai Village (Sinai Village I & II). 10 existing units will be rehabbed. All new buildings and major rehabilitations will feature energy efficient design.
Phase III & IV will consist of townhomes and garden style apartments, a community center with workout facilities, park, athletic fields, commercial space and for sale family homes. Work on these Phases will begin as the market develops and funding opportunities permit.