A documentary film by a young film maker who spent his early years growing up in Spanish Lake has take hold in the St. Louis area, the films first stop in a multi-city tour

Documentary on the changes in Spanish Lake

Making a good showing at the Tivoli Theater

A documentary film by a young film maker who spent his early years growing up in Spanish Lake has take hold in the St. Louis area, the films first stop in a multi-city tour. Originally scheduled for a one-week run, “Spanish Lake” has been extended first one more week and then for an additional two weeks, according to the producer, Matt Jordan.

The film deals with the community of Spanish Lake, an unincorporated area in the northeastern corner of St. Louis County. Interviews with former and current residents, state and local officials, and the writer and director himself, Phillip Andrew Morton, give insights and observations as to how and why that particular community was targeted for low-income multi-unit housing, commonly known as ‘Section 8, in the early 1970s. It shows how the federal government used funds from the Housing and Urban Development budget to promote relocation of a large number of predominantly African-Americans, many who formerly lived in the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex and were seeking housing when that site was vacated and eventually demolished.

There are discussions about how some real estate companies created fear of a drop in property values with then-current residents, and in some cases may have employed the practice of ‘blockbusting’. Included is the reactions of the residents, some of whom left while others stayed as this took place, and how, after nearly 40 years of decline, the area is experiencing a comeback with the support of several commercial real estate managers attempts to repair the damage, both to the properties and by tightening their residency requirements.

The film is showing at The Tivoli in University City.

-Tom Anselm



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