Today, the Regional Business Council (RBC) and Better Family Life, Inc. (BFL) announced that support continues to grow for their summer-long Clean Sweep effort to revitalize St. Louis neighborhoods as the initiative approaches the halfway point. On Saturday, June 30, the unprecedented public-private partnership will tackle the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood, marking the second of four Clean Sweep events in 2018. Volunteer activities will include demolishing 35 abandoned buildings, taking down 40 overgrown or dead trees, mowing and seeding/sodding lots, removing hazardous materials, and conducting minor repairs to occupied homes.
As of Saturday’s Clean Sweep event, over 1,000 volunteers will have joined forces with 21 organizations, including 11 construction companies, to clean up 30 blocks in North St. Louis City. In just two weekends, Operation Clean Sweep has already brought revitalization and hope to the 14,000 residents living in the targeted neighborhoods.
“This weekend is the midpoint of our summer efforts to address the revitalization of these neighborhoods head-on. Through Clean Sweep the business community has partnered with residents to build a spirit of cooperation that stretches beyond the physical improvements,” said Regional Business Council CEO and President Kathy Osborn. “Our member companies are proud of the progress they have made so far, and we are excited to continue to support the work that still needs to be done.”
For the second consecutive month over 60 pieces of construction equipment and hundreds of volunteers will be donated courtesy of RBC member companies such as McCarthy Building Companies. On Saturday, a team of more than 50 McCarthy volunteers will demolish abandoned homes, cut down overgrown and dead trees, clean up rubbish, and create a three-block long community garden in the heart of the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood.
“Operation Clean Sweep is an extraordinary project, not only because we’re helping to improve conditions in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in the urban core, but also because we’ll be working side-by-side with people who live here,” said Scott Wittkop, president and COO of McCarthy Building Companies. “McCarthy has a long tradition of helping our local community by working together as one and responding as one. When there’s a community need, McCarthy gets engaged. We’re pleased to be involved and we’re excited to get to work.”
Last month, the RBC and Better Family Life coordinated over 500 volunteers and the demolition of several vacant buildings in the Hamilton Heights and Wells-Goodfellow neighborhoods. Operation Clean Sweep 2018 will continue with cleanups scheduled on July 28th, in the Penrose and Kingsbury neighborhoods, and on August 25th in Walnut Park. Started in 2017, Clean Sweep has expanded this year with millions of dollars’ worth of labor, equipment and time being donated to address one of the city’s most pressing issues: the physical conditions and environment of neighborhoods.
The Regional Business Council, founded in 2000, is a consortium of 100 presidents and chief executive officers of mid- to large-sized companies in St. Louis. These companies are leaders in the region, employing over 120,000 people and generating over $65 billion in revenue annually. In addition to supporting the Clean Sweep efforts, the mission of the RBC is to unite and engage members to act on high-impact business, civic and philanthropic affairs for the betterment of the St. Louis region.
Established in 1983, Better Family Life (BFL) is a 501 (C)3 community development corporation that works to stabilize inner city neighborhoods. Each year BFL serves over 50,000 children and adults, including the underemployed, unemployed and skill deficient to help them become self-sufficient. In addition to sponsoring the Clean Sweep efforts, BFL offers programs targeted at St. Louis City’s north side in the areas of clinical services, community outreach, housing development, workforce development and cultural arts.