4352 Louisiana Avenue
South St. Louis, MO
The Board of Education quickly dismissed Cleveland High, and the neighborhood surrounding it refuses to accept such cavalier declarations.
This issue is inspiring because it’s about so much more than preserving a worthy building; it’s about education, health, safety and preserving the fiber of a community. A neighborhood that knows its strengths has got in the face of an institution that shuns intuitive understanding for facts and figures. The Alliance understands their foe and counterattacks with calm and considered data, alternate plans and requests for proof of accurate accountability.
This issue does highlight the need for an all-encompassing understanding of STL city oversights, but I also see the first steps of a sound template for Smart Activism. The Alliance is working in an organized and media-savvy manner, and if this form of fight-back can be sustained, it will go much further toward preserving our buildings and communities than does resignation, incredulity or aldermanic recalls.
Good news from the most recent update:
“On Tuesday 6/13/06, the Board of Education of St. Louis Public School formally passed the resolution to support the community’s effort to save Cleveland High School. It directs and authorizes the Superintendent and the School District staff to work with the Alliance and the community to develop solutions that would save the building and return students back as soon as possible, among other positive measures.”
I can’t help but think about St. Aloysius when looking at Cleveland High. Much like the former church on The Hill, this complex of buildings shapes and defines an immediate neighborhood. In both cases, the building existed first, and the neighborhood was built around it. Erasing the buildings would alter the surroundings in a most unattractive and distracting manner.
But I feel better knowing the Alliance is on this, and hope that it becomes a model for how to conserve neighborhoods and their important institutions.