Justine Petersen’s Chief Communications Officer Galen Gondolfi informed CEO students about their mission of helping people build assets. He explained the difference between main stream financing and alternative finance companies and the cost of credit. Their goal is to help people obtain main stream financing. The Justine Petersen office is located at 1950 State Street and Galen told students they have plans to develop co-working space. Galen also talked about rehabbing and building houses in neighborhoods and our community through grants and various organizations. He along with Chris Carl and others developed a 501c3 consortium of creative project spaces called Granite City Art and Design District (G-CADD) in the 1800 block of State Street. With grant funds, Chris created the Slot Lot and the Pilot Plot, gardens of native plants on vacant lots and post industrial land. The giant swing for 10 people was built by artist Brian Depauli. Other art exhibitions are displayed in several of the buildings on State Street. We invite our community members to visit, explore and appreciate G-CADD. #justinepetersen
#gcceo #gcadd #slotlot #pilotplot

Reflection by Jade Heuer:
Thursday we traveled to Justine Peterson to meet with Galen Gondolfi. Galen began to speak about what and who Justine Peterson is. She was a social worker and she was for helping people. Justine Peterson is a business that lends out money to small businesses who were not approved by the bank. This is a safe way to be lent money, unlike other “payday” lenders. This business is also a 501c3. It helps the community in many ways. The building that Justine Peterson actually just moved in was an old supermarket and they are renovating it. Through the G-CADD (Granite City Art and Design District), Justine Peterson is helping to rebuild all of these very old buildings and giving them some purpose. Before we went on our tour, Galen talked to us about his journey. He went to U of I for urban and regional planning. He lives in St. Louis and has been in this business for about 17 years. He began to tell us that what they are planning to do with G-CADD is not only have visual artists in their spaces, but to create a co-working space, like Cortex in St. Louis. They would like to name it “Produce”, because it would be producing work and ideas, but because the building it would begin in was a supermarket. We also talked about how a high credit score will always be our best friend in the long run.

When we started our tour, we met Chris Carl. He studied at U of I and has a masters degree. He is the guy who has created all of the environmental things for G-CADD. The first work he showed us was all of these tiny plants that he is working on. He is planning to grow all of these native trees and plants of Granite City and use them for a park he is working on right by Pulitzer. Then he showed us this big grass area. It was created to capture water and to recycle it in a way that water would not be getting everywhere in the streets. He even used old bricks and things of that nature that were still from the building that lay there before. We toured a couple of art buildings also, but the two coolest things was an open roofed building that he used as a place for plants and the 10 person swing. He did not create that, but he did create the commons place around it. It was so amazing. I learned so much about Justine Peterson and G-CADD. I never even knew that was a thing. We sure do have some crazy, new amazing plans for Granite City. All of the new ideas and things are sprouting from this generation and it is so cool.

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