A building, a block, a neighborhood, is blighted in St. Louis on quite a regular basis. To some “blighting” is a simple economic tool. The designation provides access to various local, state, and federal economic development funding. “Blighting” is also more art than science. In common use, a “blighted” area is one that is underperforming economically (generally, not producing enough tax revenue). Just about anything can be “blighted” by citing deferred maintenance and repeating the word “obsolete”.
The state of Missouri defines a “blighted area”, as “an area which, by reason of the predominance of defective or inadequate street layout, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site improvements, improper subdivision or obsolete platting, or the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire and other causes, or any combination of such factors, retards the provision of housing accommodations or constitutes an economic or social liability or a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare in its present condition and use.”
Below is the “Blighting Factors” portion of a recent report on the potential National Geospatial Intelligence Agency site in North St. Louis City. Within the development footprint north of Cass Avenue are 138 buildings. Zero are considered be in excellent condition, while 82 (59%) are labeled as dilapidated or in need of major repair.