Steve Patterson, author of Urban Review STL, addressed the need for Thurman Avenue to become a through street, once again. We’re sure that many in the neighborhood agree, and in fact, we know that Alderman Conway has been approached by the owner of the building that houses Sasha’s on Shaw. What’s holding it back? According to Conway, Alderman Joe Roddy reports hesitation from the residents of Botanical Heights. That’s ironic, considering neighborhood history. Shaw residents pushed for the blockades and street closures, during the late ’70s and early ’80s (though, to be sure, it was a rather contentious issue then, as now). At the time, the neighborhood was (rightly) concerned about the decline of the former McRee Town. The concern grew so drastic that The Missouri Botanical Garden got involved in 1997, and the end result was the creation of the Garden District Commission – made up of representatives from Shaw, Southwest Garden, the Botanical Garden, Tiffany, and later, Botanical Heights – which was built after the commission worked with the city to demolish six square blocks of McRee Town. The next phase, Botanical Grove, recently broke ground.
We certainly understand their concerns. Shaw residents have worked aggressively to address stability issues on our side of the interstate, long before said interstate was created (much of what’s now Botanical Heights was considered Shaw, before the interstate sliced up much of the neighborhood in 1973). In fact, the original Shaw Neighborhood Association was created in 1958 (and later incorporated as SNIA in 1975). It’s one of the oldest associations of its kind in St. Louis City. Our neighborhood has seen its share of challenges, not unlike most city neighborhoods. But, it’s also (finally) getting its due. We would invite discussion with Botanical Heights, Botanical Grove and the Garden District Commission. We think the through traffic would be a welcome benefit to all neighborhoods involved.