The St. Louis Gateway Initiative
The St. Louis Gateway Initiative The St. Louis East-West Gateway Initiativeis a joint effort between EPA Region 7 and EPA Region 5's St. Louis Gatewayproject. This initiative has formed partnerships with local citizens andstate and local governments to identify environmental concerns, set priorities,and develop comprehensive solutions.
The following are just a few of the projects:
EPA's Listening tour
In the fall of 1997, St. Louis Community College introduced EPA's "ListeningTour" to the community, which encouraged residents to voice their environmentalconcerns. The Listening Tour concluded in December 1997, and a final reportand video were produced in May 1998. The community's top 10 issues, inorder of importance, were: air pollution, urban sprawl and highway expansion,Brownfields redevelopment, safety, lack of curbside recycling, vacantand abandoned properties, litter and trash, illegal dumping, solid wasteissues, and water pollution.
Encouraged by the success of this initial endeavor, EPA and St. LouisCommunity College are continuing their collaboration through a new PhaseII of the project, designed to develop leadership among two neighborhoodenvironmental projects. Each project involves 15-20 residents from eachneighborhood, who form a core leadership group. These residents will receivetraining in public affairs leadership; will research and identify an environmentalissue; and will learn how to work local resources to create and implementtheir solution(s).
Abandoned Building Project
Federal, state, and local government officials, local organizations,and businesses are collaborating and sharing resources to conduct environmentalcleanups and will demolish abandoned structures throughout St. Louis.The project is intended to develop and test models for assessing and remediatingproperties and to establish a public policy framework that can be usedfor residential and commercial development throughout the city. The assessment,abatement, and demolition process is already being replicated by the citywith $11 million raised for this purpose. The project will also producean easy-to-understand guidebook and documentary for contractors, developers,and others who need guidance on conducting demolition on contaminatedproperties.
Community Air Project
This project was initiated after 89 percent of the participants in theListening Tour identified air pollution as the highest environmental priorityin their neighborhood. The project's primary goal is to include communitymembers, along with other pertinent stakeholders, in identifying sourcesof toxic air pollutants; determining what, if any, health risks are associatedwith the emissions of these pollutants; and, if a potential health riskexists, finding solutions to reduce pollutant levels below predeterminedacceptable risk levels. The community air project work is ongoing.
The St. Louis Lead Coalition
A broad spectrum of stakeholders has come together to address the prevalenceof lead poisoning in the city. The St. Louis Lead Coalition includes variousrepresentatives from city, county, state, and federal agencies, alongwith representatives from the private sector, such as health care providers,real estate and landlord organizations, educational and religious groups,neighborhood organizations, and lead abatement companies.
EPA's Listening Tour
The two neighborhoods being addressed in the St. Louis urban area are:
- Carondelet Neighborhood --located in the southeast part of the city and spanning six Aldermanic wards.
- Lillian Circle --located in the north part of the city in the 27th Aldermanic ward.
Abandoned Building Project
- Abandoned buildings were the second highest environmental concern listed by residents.
- EPA has initiated a pilot project and partnership to demolish 10-15 abandoned houses in the Vandeventer neighborhood of the 18th Ward.
Community Air Project
EPA, with the assistance of state and local partners, has defined theproject implementation area as zip codes 63104 and 63118, located justsouth of downtown. The project will consist of the following major activities:
- Engagement and participation of local stake holders.
- Development of an emission inventory of sources of toxic air pollutants in and around the project area.
- Monitoring of concentrations of toxic air pollutants in the project area.
- Use of computer models to identify sources of toxic air pollutants.
- Assessment of potential health hazards related to toxic air pollutants in the project area.
- If a potential health hazard is identified, partners will work with project stakeholders to identify steps to reduce levels of toxic air pollutants in the project area.
- EMPACT: (April 2000) [PDF] In 1998, EPA Region's 5 & 7 issued a grant to the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council to initiate the Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) process in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The goal of this program is to assist communities in providing sustainable public access to environmental monitoring data and information that is clearly-communicated, time-relevant, useful and accurate.
- St. Louis North Riverfront Trail: (April 2000) [PDF]Grace Hill's proposal for the trail showed a creative approach to meeting neighborhood needs, while providing assistance in the areas of environmental protection, economic prosperity and social equity.
- FOCUS St. Louis: The first project element surrounds the identification of sustainable funding sources for the City of St. Louis in an emerging regional Household Hazardous Waste management program. The second project element is to develop a Smart Codes strategy for St. Louis. Smart Codes will enable the city to put in place key practices that will help deter any future abandoned buildings, prevent pollution, and give much-needed stability to many sectors of the urban core.
EPA Region 7 Contact
Kathleen L. Fenton
CARE Program Manager