In September 2017, SLU LAW alumna Alana Green (’12), now the executive director of the Community Development Administration for the City of St. Louis, referred the Lewis Place Improvement Association to the School of Law Legal Clinics for legal assistance.
The Lewis Place neighborhood, which is defined by Martin Luther King Drive on the north, Delmar Boulevard on the south, Newstead Avenue on the east, and Walton Avenue on the west, was in need of repair. Streets were riddled with potholes, sidewalks had fallen into disrepair, curbs were nonexistent. These problems and more had left residents feeling unsafe, neglected by the city and unable to effectively get around.
The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic took on the project. The clinic’s role was to negotiate contracts with the city and work out the details of the repairs.
“There was plenty of back and forth between us and the city, mainly involving contract terms and specifics,” said 3L Paul Ozbun, the primary clinic student who worked with the association on the project. “The construction and work that took place involved a complete overhaul of the street, sidewalk replacement and curb replacement.”
The documents were completed in September, and the work was finished in November.
“The Lewis Place homeowners went through many ups and downs over the course of this project,” said clinic supervisor and associate professor Dana Malkus. “When the street and sidewalk improvements were finally completed, it was touching to see how meaningful those repairs were to the many long-time homeowners who had lived with the street and sidewalks being in a state of disrepair for so long. It felt as though the physical rebuilding of the community brought with it a message of hope: ‘Your community matters. You matter.’”