The Better Block program is making its’ official debut in St. Louis this Saturday, May 14th at the Tour de Grove. The program is a national initiative that transforms urban eyesores into vibrant storefronts. The goal of the project is to demonstrate how good urban design and quality development are essential to the vibrancy of urban areas. Local artists and volunteers will be creating marquees, awnings, and painted window displays for the project.
Members from Mayor Slay’s Vanguard Cabinet are spearheading the event and additional assistance is being provided by the Grove Community Improvement District. The event will take place in front of six under utilized buildings on the southern side of Manchester, just west of Boyle. On Saturday, Manchester Avenue will become host to a bakery/cafe with complimentary coffee and pastries, an arcade with actual games, and a movie theater with outdoor movies shown throughout the day. In addition to the storefront facades, there will be public art displays including an urban tapestry and an interactive art piece called “I’m in St. Louis because…” where participants can write-in why they chose to stay in St. Louis.
There will also be additional entertainment along this stretch of Manchester. Green Strum Project will be performing from noon to 3 p.m. Urban Breath Yoga, a yoga studio moving to the Grove later this year, will be hosting a free yoga class at 1 p.m. More music throughout the day TBA. There will be outdoor seating and a barbecue for those wishing to view the day’s races.
WUMCRC employee and Vanguard Cabinet member, Matt Green, has been heading up the event. Matt states,
“It’s a program that the Vanguard Cabinet has been talking about doing quite sometime now and we saw the Tour de Grove as an attractive event for holding this display. Our Better Block display will beautify the race course for visitors and provide an attractive space for viewing the event all day long. Most importantly though, the reconfigured storefronts will reshape way people view these particular buildings and reinvent the potential for this stretch of Manchester.”
So when you are at the Tour de Grove this Saturday, make sure you stop by the Better Block display along the 4200 block of Manchester, from 10am-6pm.