Could Immigrants Play a Role in Strengthening Your Town? — Strong Towns

In St. Louis, entire business districts, such as the neighborhoods of South Grand, Cherokee, and Dutchtown, have been reenergized by immigrant-owned businesses. South Grand is a once-languishing commercial corridor that is now home to over 50 local businesses, including restaurants from 14 different countries. “We like to brag that we have more countries represented in our six block business district than are in Epcot,” said Rachel Witt, Executive Director of the South Grand Community Improvement District, referring to the internationally themed park at Disney World. The CID brought in $133,000 in revenue from the district last fiscal year just from the .005% sales tax they are allotted. South Grand was also recognized by the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America in 2017. In St. Louis, population surges from Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s and later Bosnians in the 1990s have partially offset the steady decreases in population since the mid-20th century.

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