Community program

To fill the “Delmar Divide”, a community program aims to make the neighbors talk

A St. Louis nonprofit group is developing a program to bring together neighbors to the north and south of St. Louis.

The Association of Community Organizations of St. Louis hopes to officially launch its Sisterhood initiative next year. The program will bring together the northern and southern districts of Delmar Boulevard for one-year working partnerships with the aim of bridging the so-called “Delmar Divide”.

SLACO Executive Director Kevin McKinney said the initiative is an extension of another program of the organization known as Neighborhoods United for Change.

This program, which began in 2016, facilitates conversations between neighbors in communities north and south of St. Louis and takes them on half-day bus tours to their respective neighborhoods.

“We felt the Neighborhoods United for Change program was a good place to start, but it only broke the ice,” McKinney said. “You have to have more interactions so that you can learn from and communicate with each other. This is why we are setting up the Sisterhoods Initiative.

The scope of the program will be open by design, with neighborhood leaders responsible for developing partnerships.

The goal, McKinney said, is to start a conversation among residents that will help them find common ground.

Credit St. Louis on air


Kevin McKinney, Executive Director of SLACO

“My hope is that we can bring the north and the south closer together,” he said. “That the inhabitants will understand that this divide must be broken and that funds must be allocated for the north as well as for the south. “

To identify potential neighborhoods for the Sisterhoods Initiative, McKinney said SLACO contacted leaders of St. Louis neighborhood associations by mail.

Based on the results of the questionnaire, he said the group expects to match around 10 neighborhoods in St. Louis.

The total number of participating neighborhoods and the program launch date will depend on the availability of funds.

The St. Louis Community Development Administration has provisionally approved $ 30,000 in funding for SLACO programs in 2019, of which approximately $ 7,500 will be allocated to the Sisterhoods Initiative.

Final approval of the funding proposal rests with the Council of Aldermen of St. Louis and the Estimation and Allocation Council.

Follow Shahla on Twitter: @shahlafarzan