Twitter Founder Helps Demolish Vacant Buildings in St. Louis

Jack Dorsey teams with city and businessman man to fight blight.

Brian Kelly
July 19, 2019 - 4:31 pm

(Brian Kelly, KMOX)


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is teaming up with businessman Bill Pulte and the City of St. Louis to demolish vacant buildings in city neighborhoods, under what they're calling the St. Louis Blight Authority.

On Friday, under a tent on Burd Avenue, they announced that the Well-Goodfellow Neighborhood will be their first Blight Elimination Zone. Over the next three days, 30 vacant buildings will be torn down in a four-block area bordered by Cote Brlliante, Maffitt, Clara and Belt Avenues. 

As he watched the first buildings coming down, Dorsey said it's just the beginning.

"It looks like destruction right now, this clears the way for construction," Dorsey says. "That's what I'm excited to see. I don't put too much into this one moment because we have to come back and see how we follow through."

Dorsey says he's glad to be working with Pulte, who has funded similar efforts in Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan, because he gave the sites back to the communities so they could decide what to do with it. 

Twenty-second ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, who represents the Wells-Goodfellow Neighborhood, says clearing the vacant buildings will be a great boost to the area.

"Hundreds of derelict, dangerous buildings in our community are creating the slum and blight, and when we remove it like they are doing today, and not just the building but all the shrubbery and brush and overgrown weeds around it, it makes a significant impact," Boyd says. "And the people who live over here can feel proud again about where they live because they don't have to live next door to an eyesore."

Boyd says the city is looking at a follow-up stratgey where people in the community could maintain what will be vacant lots. 

Dorsey says he hopes other corporate citizens join the effort. "This is a pilot, it's an experiment and showing the results of the pilot will be most informative in what's possible and hopefully what's possible." 

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