MSD demolishing vacant St. Louis houses to help reduce rain runoff

ST. LOUIS - Vacant homes and structures are being demolished all over the St. Louis area. One thousand buildings will be demolished over the next five years in the city of St. Louis alone.  Most demolition is scheduled for the city's north side and is part of the Urban Greening project.

Laura Ginn, a project manager with the Green City Coalition, says “With MSD funding we can take down about 1,000 vacant and abandon buildings, but we have almost 8,000 across the city.”

MSD is making a big commitment to spend $100 million on the Urban Greening Program with $13.5 million going towards demolition. The green space created will help MSD by keeping larger portions of rainwater out of city sewers which can cause flooding.

“Creating community-owned greenspaces that residents can use and gather in and safe high-quality areas that impact the environment and public health, but also remove vacant and abandon buildings and the risk that comes with those.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation and MSD are the primary funders for the project along with the city of St. Louis. Demolitions are planned in the Wells-Goodfellow, Walnut East Park, Baden, and College Hill neighborhoods.

The project has also consulted with residents to find out what kind of green infrastructure they would like to see in their neighborhoods.

“What we have seen so far from this is people coming together engaged in clean-up events and planning and building medians and other beautiful location projects,” explained Ginn.