Friday, November 18, 2005

Benton Park West in Review

Benton Park West in Review

Despite my grousing, I really do love living in Benton Park West. Just some examples:

  • Diversity. BPW is incredibly diverse, with African-American, Hispanic, Asian and white families living on the same blocks. Many gay and lesbian couples have moved in recently; and there are folks with graduate degrees living on the same blocks as people who didn't finish high school.

  • Affordability. My wife and I were able to buy a comfortable two-family, in need of some work, for just over $50,000 in 2003. If you are willing to do some "sweat equity" you can probably find even better deals.

  • History. Now that we're part of an historic district, you can get Missouri tax credits for rehab work. Much of the neighborhood is intact; very little has been demolished, so most of the houses date from the 1880s to 1910s.

    Our house, built in 1898, has nice details like an art glass window in the front hall, pocket doors on both floors connecting the living room and bedroom, and a largely original kitchen cupboard on the first floor. These solid, brick-built houses with stone foundations are simply magnificent. Our house also has nice exterior details like a fleur-de-lys pattern in the cornice-level brick, and an arched brick entryway on the front of the house.

    Plus, I live only a few blocks from where my paternal great-grandparents lived in the 1940s (near Missouri and Pestalozzi).

  • Accessibility. Within just a few minutes walk from my front door, I can catch a bus that'll take me just about anywhere in the city. Buses run on Gravois, Arsenal, Jefferson and Cherokee, all within a few blocks of my house. Even South Grand is not too far away.

  • Beautification. I'm always amazed at how beautiful the flower garden at Wyoming and California is. The new trash cans on nearly every corner should help keep the litter under control.

  • Representation. Craig Schmid is great - probably the hardest-working aldermen around! And Jeanette Mott Oxford is an equally wonderful rep to have in the state legislature.

    All in all, Benton Park West has tremendous advantages!

    Lily Bleu said...

    thanks for being positive! :)

    (I commented in reply to your comment on my blog, btw).

    Joe said...

    You're welcome. I also added your blog to my (admittedly rather short) blogroll.

    Rick Bonasch said...

    Excellent post Joe.

    The future looks bright with the new historic district.

    Substantial rehab opportunities abound.

    As a neighborhood resident, how do you feel about substantial rehab being done with state and federal historic and low income housing tax credits, as part of a mixed income, rental and for sale housing development program?

    Michael Allen said...

    Good post. The intact nature of BPW is very impressive. For an area that has seen intense disinvestment, it has held on better than most neighborhoods. The historic district designation is long overdue and should help accelerate some good work y'all are doing down there.