St. Louis Names City Park in Honor of HUD PIH Employee

Friday, July 26, 2002

Janet B. Wood was an experienced, respected staffer in the St. Louis HUD Office of Public Housing. A long-time employee, Jan's passion had been the Murphy Park development, a precursor to the HOPE VI program with a forward-looking approach that would replace the dilapidated Vaughn Public Housing project. Tragically, Jan Wood died in 1998 - but to recognize her many accomplishments, the developer of Murphy Park proposed that the city of St. Louis name a park on the site in her honor.

[Photo 1: Mayor Francis Slay signing ordinance designating park in Ms. Wood's name.]
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, with Wood family members, signing ordinance designating park in Ms. Wood's name.

Thanks to the developer's suggestion, the city became aware of Jan Wood's deep dedication to the people and communities she served. Last month, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed an ordinance naming the park at the George L. Vaughn Residences in her honor. A ceremony was held at Murphy Park on June 28, and brought together members of Ms. Wood's family, many current and retired HUD staff, Mayor Slay and city staff, Senator Christopher Bond and other dignitaries. Murphy Park is held up by many as the model for public/private partnerships and mixed finance development that includes rental housing, a component of public housing, and also tax credit and market rate units.

[Photo 2: Picnic in the park]

As part of the day's events, the developer of Murphy Park, McCormack Barron & Associates of St. Louis, a nationally recognized urban housing developer, hosted a "picnic in the park." While part of the celebration to honor Jan Wood, it also was held to recognize its many community partners in the revitalization project, including the St. Louis Housing Authority, Missouri Housing Development Commission, HUD, the City of St. Louis and Fannie Mae.

[Photo 3: In memory of Janet B. Wood, dedicated public servant.]

The partnership event highlighted Phase III of Murphy Park. Its 126 units will bring to 413 the total number of rental dwellings built in the neighborhood that once was the site of the notorious George L. Vaughn public housing high-rises. One third of the completed project will be market rate apartments, with the balance constructed as tax credit units - with just more than half available for public housing-eligible families as part of the replacement of the former public housing complex. Units range from two to six bedrooms and include disability-accessible garden apartments. Each apartment features full size appliances including washer and dryer, refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. McCormack Baron Management Services, the management agent, reports that Phases I and II (completed in 1997 and 2000) have high-90 percent occupancy. Phase III units will be available in March 2003.

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