St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO)

The Mayor's Vacancy Task Force

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Horizon Housing Foundation

IAFF Local 73 and the St. Louis Fire Department

SLACO would like to acknowledge and thank all of our sponsors and volunteers who supported our first Vacancy Summit, which was held on Feb. 24, 2017 at the T-Rex Building:

St. Louis Association of Community Organizations

Let's turn this...into This

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Be Part of the Solution

On Friday, February 24, the St. Louis Association for Community Organizations (SLACO), in conjunction with the St. Louis Vacancy Task Force, held its first vacancy summit, called Working Together: The St. Louis Vacancy Summit. At this day-long working meeting, people and organizations that have been working toward solutions to this major challenge came together. The summit featured presentations, small-group discussions and created opportunities to plan concrete next steps.

Feedback from summit attendees indicates that the event was a success! Post-event surveys were overwhelmingly positive. The event was sold out with approximately 100 people attending. Once again, we thank T-Rex for the use of their beautiful space.  

Below is the agenda so those of you who could not make it can get an idea of how the day was structured. We plan to have speaker presentations up on the SLACO web site as soon as possible.

Now the real work begins. We are compiling the notes from the small groups to help focus our work. The conference committee will meet to assemble a list of participants and others who expressed interest in serving on the new St. Louis Vacancy Task Force steering committee.

We expect that the steering committee will comprise 12-15 committed individuals with diverse backgrounds who will draft next steps and goals for the task force. Then we will convene another meeting shortly after the new administration takes office so they can be a full partner in this process. At this meeting we hope to finalize goals and develop a specific plan of action. 

The work of the existing SLACO Vacancy Committee will continue until the new task force is up and running at which point it will merge into the new task force.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. And stay tuned for more updates as we move forward.

Regards,

Stacy Ross
Chair, SLACO Vacancy Committee

vacancy@slaco-mo.org​


Summit Agenda:


THE ST. LOUIS VACANCY SUMMIT
February 24, 2017
T-Rex Technology Entrepreneur Center
911 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63101

Thanks for Supporting SLACO's Vacancy Summit 

8:00 AM         

Check-in : Help yourself to coffee and a light breakfast. We’ll have additional materials out you may wish to review. Please sit at your assigned table throughout the day.

9:00 AM         

Welcome and Overview of SLACO Vacancy Committee
Kevin McKinney, SLACO Executive Director
Stacy Ross, SLACO Vacancy Committee Chair
Dana Malkus, Legal Tools Subcommittee Chair, Associate Clinical Professor Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, St. Louis University School of Law

Vacant and abandoned properties bring with them a multitude of challenges for our neighborhoods. Vacancy has many causes and contributing factors, and it calls for focused and innovative solutions that bring together a wide coalition of stakeholders. Today’s event is intended to share information and to focus on next steps.

9:20 AM         

Small Group Discussion: Impact of Vacancy
Liz Kramer, Assistant Director, Office for Socially Engaged Practice, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

In this session, we will explore the ways in which we are impacted by issues of vacancy personally, profes- sionally, in the City, and across the region.

9:45 AM         

Vacancy Context
Patrick Brown, Acting Chief of Staff to Mayor Slay; Director, Office of Resiliency

The City of St. Louis has already begun to focus on the need for solutions. In this session, we will provide some context for the two reports that will be discussed today.

10:00 AM      

The Cost of Vacancy
Captain Garon Mosby, St. Louis Fire Department
Jonah Klein-Barton, Washington University Student (Economics)

As one example of the cost of vacancy, this session will highlight the human toll vacant buildings present for our city’s firefighters. This session will then provide key information resulting from months of work Jonah Klein-Barton has done investigating the true cost of vacancy and its economic domino effect. For example, lower property values lead to lower tax revenues which lead to less funding for schools, which in turn causes people to move out of the city and thus more vacancy.

11:00 AM      

“Developing a Shared Vision and Strategies to Address Vacancy and Abandonment in the City of St. Louis” (Center for Community Progress Report to the LRA, June 2016)
Don Roe, Director, Planning and Urban Design, City of St. Louis

In 2015, the City of St. Louis was awarded a technical assistance scholarship from the Center for Community Progress, a Flint, Michigan-based non-profit focusing solely on vacancy and blight. This session will provide key highlights from the report and an opportunity to discuss the report’s recommendations.

12:30 PM       

Lunch
Choice of chicken salad, grilled chicken club or veggie sandwich box lunches will be available just outside the main room. Seating is available in the open area.

1:30 PM         

St. Louis Land Bank Assessment: Final Report
David Doyle, Sustainable Communities Coordinator, US Environmental Protection Agency Alexandra Miller, Principal, Asakura Robinson

In 2014, the White House selected St. Louis for technical assistance under the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative. The program focused federal agency resources on addressing economic issues in a community. As part of this initiative, city officials asked the EPA for an assessment of the LRA. EPA commissioned the Austin-based urban planning and design firm Asakura Robinson to conduct this assessment. This session will provide key highlights from the report and an op- portunity to discuss the report’s recommendations.

3:00 PM         

Group Discussion and Next Steps
Liz Kramer, Assistant Director, Office for Socially Engaged Practice, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
Stacy Ross, SLACO Vacancy Committee Chair
Dana Malkus, Legal Tools Subcommittee Chair, Associate Clinical Professor, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, St. Louis University School of Law

This session will focus on facilitated discussion intended to help determine priorities and next steps for moving forward.

4:00 PM         

Conclusion
Kevin McKinney, SLACO Executive Director

Please be sure to complete the survey and leave it at the registration table. The survey will provide important information in planning next steps.

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