The Leader We Need
for the 18th Ward
Judith Arnold earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and American History from Cleveland State University and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Occidental College. She is a professional Urban Planner, Neighborhood Advocate, and Citizen Leader. Successfully, Judith promoted the welfare of others through her work as a Philanthropist and Developer for programs of Catholic Charities, the largest faith-based organization in Missouri.
Judith is a contributor to several volumes of Segregation by Design, published by Washington University. Here she studied the growth and development of St. Louis neighborhoods and offered strategies to alleviate segregation patterns that exist. The 18th Ward was a subject of the first volume along with a strategy to establish the North Central Special Business District spanning across Delmar. Residents vote on creating the district in April 2019.
Judith is an Urban Planner developing 150 units of affordable and market rate housing for Union Sarah Economic Development Corporation. She contributed to the North City Planning Document which guides community building efforts in the Vandeventer Neighborhood. She has been involved in other community-building efforts in the ward including obtaining Community Development Block Grants for street, curbing, and sidewalk improvements.
Judith received local and state funding for citywide home repairs to help low-income homeowners with lead abatement and code enforcement concerns – repairing over 125 homes. She rehabbed 35 apartments from an abandoned convent for single men raising their children. Her work with the North Central Special Business District supports the construction of 235 mixed-use and income units of McCormack Baron Salazar development, 40 units of new for-sale housing, the resurgence of the Hodiamont Track and new education facilities for Ranken College. Ward 18 is a Promise Zone and receives federal money for social services.
“I was able to designate the ward as a new Opportunity Zone, to support additional development efforts to our ward.”
“I want our Ward to take full advantage of community building resources that does not displace residents.”
Judith is a Neighborhood Advocate, and very aware that property taxes are a burden for seniors in St. Louis neighborhoods. Many states provide exemptions for older residents. St. Louis does not. Many seniors have said they want to live in their homes as long as they can. Illinois and New Jersey are two of twelve (12) states that authorize some form of property tax freeze for elderly homeowners. Five (5) of these states extend the freeze to taxpayers with disabilities regardless of age.
“Missouri has the Circuit Breaker Program but it does not go far enough.”
“I plan to introduce legislation to freeze assessments for senior homeowners beginning at the city level and then take the fight to state government.”
States can freeze property assessment of seniors, regardless whether home values increase. This method limits the extent to which homeowners’ annual taxes can increase, regardless of property values increases.
“Strategies like these allow senior homeowners to live in their neighborhoods as long as they can, even when substantial neighborhood improvements take place. Introducing these solutions will ease the effects of gentrification. Taxes should be more equitable, addressing senior residents.”
“Together we will hold the city and state governments accountable to ensure fair taxes for senior homeowners.”
Judith is working on reducing crime in the 18th Ward. Our St. Louis Police Chief says his strategy is concentrating resources in violent areas of the city. This strategy has led to a nearly six percent drop in crime in areas concentrated police presence. However, Ward 18 is not part of the strategy even though our neighborhoods show overall significant increases in crime, 35 percent in Vandeventer/Gaslight and 13 percent in Lewis Place. Although crime dropped in the Central West End, the Gaslight Square/Maryland neighborhoods of the 18th Ward experience significant increases. With the exception of property crimes in Fountain Park, other neighborhoods in the 18th Wards show a small drop in crime.
“Residents have voiced a need for more police presence. Our entire ward needs to show progress in the reduction of crime.”
“I support resident initiatives such as the North Central Special Business District which will provide additional safety and security..”
Judith is on the frontline of concerns. She began the “Vacancy Initiative,” a public-private partnership that morphed into the successful $6M bond issues to provide money to stabilize viable buildings owned by LRA.
“In return, we should expect good, solid buildings for our tax rolls when purchased.”
“The 18th Ward deserves a fair share of this new money to reduce vacancies.”
Judith has organized and led workshops on topics such as “How to Buy LRA Properties,” “Neighborhood Fundraising,” “The History of Urban Planning in St. Louis,” and the like. She authored “A Guide for Starting a Neighborhood Associations.” She facilitates “Neighborhoods United for Change,” with a touring format to assure high-quality conversations about neighborhoods unknown to participants. Discussions included challenges and ways in which residents can help to improve neighborhood life.
Judith is a Citizen Leader of successful fights to put more city budget money into neighborhoods, like expanding the cutting of weeds on vacant lots and getting more in the budget for boarding up vacant homes. She has extensive voter right beginnings as Past President of the League of Women Voters. She successfully lobbied state and national governments for voter registration when obtaining or renewing driver’s license. She fought against new voter id laws and now continues to educate voters on requirements at the polls. She founded the Enright Neighbors Association and organized about 12 other associations in St. Louis neighborhoods. Frequently, Judith is at block unit and neighborhood meetings, helping residents with various issues. Her ability to engage residents, an example is the recent “National Night Out” celebration with over 400 in attendance shows that the community has pride.
Judith continues to practice Philanthropy and Community Development with a distinguished record of public service. Accomplishments include afterschool programs and summer camps for children living in public housing where she teaches group piano lessons for the youth. She founded and directed six (6) community outreach sites with assistance to prevent homelessness. Judith was a 2016 Delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Hillary Clinton. She served as the Chair of the Education Monitoring and Advisory Community under Federal Court Judges Gunn and Meredith. In the past, she was the President of the League of Women Voters, a leader of United Way Board, Charmaine Chapman Philanthropic Society, Regional Chair of Federal Emergency Management Assitance, President of Enright Neighbors Association, Block Captain, and appointed to the St. Louis City Board of Building Commissioners.