June 14 Community Meeting Highlights: Community Builders Design Proposal, Industrial Arts Workshop, Hazelwood Local | The homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative


By Juliette Martinez

At the June 14 community meeting, non-profit developer Community Builders gave Hazelwood an insight into evolving designs for a four-story mixed-use building planned for the east side of the 4800 block of the neighborhood. Second Avenue business.

The developer highlighted a small plaza with space for public art that would create a sense of a gateway to the neighborhood at the corner of Hazelwood and Second Avenues. Commercial spaces would be concentrated at this end of the building, while the residential entrance and lobby would be at the other end. A common room with a view of Moulin 19 is designed for the fourth floor.

Potential concepts for public art in the small plaza which is part of the design proposed by the Community Builders.Image courtesy of Community Builders

Rising construction costs and ongoing work on Second Avenue, including expansion projects, prompted the developer to abandon the small boutique concept and move to two larger retail spaces that could be combined. They also changed the design to a four-story rather than a three-story building which now includes outdoor restaurant seating and space for a bus shelter on the right side of the building.

Even so, the designs met with decidedly mixed reviews. The community has expressed strong support for the first floor retail concept with affordable housing above. However, several community members criticized the design of the building.

Several meeting attendees said they felt the design wasn’t distinctive enough. Hazelwood resident Kris DiPietro said it looked like a parking lot rather than a design that merges the iconic past with the neighborhood’s future. She noted that in 1954, 15-year-old John Minadeo died saving four children from being hit by a car at that intersection. His classmate Ella Cornelious also died.

Ms DiPietro said these crucial local distinctions were not being felt. “It doesn’t seem to me that [people would say] ‘Oh wow! It’s Hazelwood!’ “, did she say.

As for the interior of the building, 33 of the 40 units will be for low- and moderate-income households, of which 20 to 24 will be supported by Section 8 funds, making rents affordable for very low-income tenants. The rest of the units will be at the market rate. The building design included 34 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units. Meeting attendees asked why there were no three-bedroom units for families.

“Why does it seem like they’re leaning towards moving families away from the neighborhood they belong to and where they want to be?” Hazelwood native Teaira Collins asked. “I don’t get the impression you care about the best interests of the Hazelwood families.”

Senior project manager Vanessa Murphy replied that the developer did not think living on a busy street was the best place for families with young children.

“We think this lot, given its context, is really not the best suited for young children in terms of needing to get out and exercise,” Ms Murphy said.

Ms Collins replied that she raised eight children on Hazelwood Avenue. “They were raised from birth, and there were no issues with green spaces or taking them somewhere to play or anything, so I really don’t think that’s a good answer.”

Industrial Arts Workshop

Tim Kaulen, Founder of Industrial Arts Workshop, 5434 Herbert Way, spoke at the IAW Metalworking Summer Program Community Meeting for High School Students. Each summer, students create a piece of public art through a process that begins by listening to the community where the piece will be installed. These conversations lead to the development of concepts and prototypes, and finally to the presentation of a finished piece to the community.

Mr. Kaulen said involving young people aged 15 to 18 in inventing and building teams is a powerful thing to be involved in.

“Especially coming out of the pandemic,” he said, “for these kids to think and build together, it’s just, it’s just a transformative moment in every moment.”

local hazel

Dana Wall, Hazelwood’s local project manager, shared news of the event initiative and summer lineup with the community meeting.

The summer movie series kicked off with “Spiderman: No Way Home” in June, featuring food vendors, free popcorn and free face paint. In July, attend “Encanto” and in August the original “Space Jam”.

The Summer Music Series, with partner Weather Permitting, will bring different bands to Hazelwood Green Plaza, along with food and drink vendors and free kids’ activities. Visit https://hazelwoodlocal.eventbrite.com for details on all future events.

A free shuttle will transport Hazelwood residents to the Plaza for summer events. Register to reserve your place on the shuttle at https://tinyurl.com/HazelwoodGreen-shuttle-signup. To organize an event on Hazelwood Green, go to https://tinyurl.com/HazelwoodGreenPermit-ShortForm to apply for a permit.

Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., publisher of The Homepage, is a community development company and a registered community organization. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. does not profit from or receive compensation from contributors or organizations for mentions or links in homepage articles.

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