Wellston Choice Neighborhood Plan
The St. Louis County Office of Community Development in partnership with the Wellston Housing Authority, H3 Studio (Planning Coordinator) and Rise Community Development (Housing Lead) submitted a $474,000 2013 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in May of 2013. The grant was funded in November 2013. Other partners committed to participating in this grant effort include: the City of Wellston, University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL), Normandy School District, Metro-Link, Washington University, Beyond Housing, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP) and various other support services providers.
Choice Neighborhoods grants are designed to transform distressed neighborhoods and public and assisted projects into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods by linking housing improvements with appropriate services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs. A strong emphasis is placed on local community planning for access to high-quality educational opportunities, including early childhood education. Choice Neighborhoods grants build upon the successes of public housing transformation under HOPE VI to provide support for the preservation and rehabilitation of public and HUD-assisted housing, within the context of a broader approach to concentrated poverty. In addition to the public housing authority, the initiative involved local governments, non-profits, and for-profit developers in undertaking comprehensive local planning with residents and the community.
St. Louis County, Wellston Housing Authority and partners developed a plan that supports efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of: (1) economic competitiveness and revitalization; (2) social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; (3) energy use and climate change; and (4) public health and environmental impact.
The planning process spanned twenty-four (24) months culminating with the submission of the Choice Neighborhood Final Transformation Plan to HUD in November of 2015. HUD accepted the Plan in April, 2016 and stated, “The Final Transformation Plan is a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy that will achieve the three core goals of Choice Neighborhoods: Housing, People and Neighborhood.”