Mark Twain Neighborhood Redevelopment Initiative

St. Louis, Missouri


Since 1849 when the first St. Louisan was buried at Bellefontaine, the cemetery has been a significant community institution. The vision of Bellefontaine founders was for a civic and historical institution that was an active part of community life.  

This remarkable charge for a cemetery purpose has continued into the 21st century. The Bellefontaine Cemetery and its affiliate, Union West Florissant Housing Solutions, has devoted energy and resources for revitalizing the adjacent Mark Twain Neighborhood with a variety of community building activities and partnerships.

Working directly with neighborhood residents and a community partner, New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church, UWFHS undertook neighborhood planning in 2008. The neighborhood plan reflected the community’s interest and has provided ongoing direction for the community development initiative.  

Community Development Framework

Bellefontaine Cemetery remains committed to continuing community stability efforts in the Mark Twain neighborhood and has actively engaged with community partners to promote area development and responsive public policy initiatives. 


Growing out of the community-based planning begun in 2008, this initiative seeks to

  • promote neighborhood stability with neighborhood housing conservation reinvestment;
  • funding support for the youth programs;
  • exploration of the potential for senior housing;
  • dialogue with the City of St. Louis regarding redevelopment planning for city-owned property.

Affordable Senior Housing

This proposed low income senior housing project grew out of the Mark Twain Neighborhood Initiative. The Bellefontaine Cemetery Association and the New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church, with Scott Associates as planning and design consultant, sought low income housing tax credits for infill senior housing, as outlined in the neighborhood initiative prepared by Scott Associates. The development scheme included one and two bedroom units and a social service plan, also prepared by Scott Associates.