Kinloch is a city in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. The population was 449 at the 2000 census.
Kinloch is the oldest African-American community to be incorporated in the state of Missouri and was home to a vibrant and flourishing black community for much of the nineteenth and twentieth century and is the hometown of California Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
In the 1980's, the City of St. Louis began to buy out property in Kinloch as part of the expansion of Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport, dramatically reducing Kinloch's size. Eventually the airport took the vast majority of private homes in Kinloch. Between 1990 and 2000, Kinloch lost more than 75 percent of its population. The social and economic effects of this buyout were disastrous for the community and contributed more than anything else to its present plight.
Kinloch became an increasingly violent and dangerous place to live, infested with drugs and crime. The police department faced numerous investigations and over a twenty-year period a number of officers were arrested on corruption charges. Kinloch reached a low point in September 2002 when St. Louis County police chief Ron Battelle directed his department to take control of law enforcement in Kinloch. The city's population had dwindled to 449 and there was talk of disincorporation.
In recent years, there have been valiant efforts to rebuild the city. Faith Beyond Walls, a community service organization, has been instrumental in mobilizing volunteers to assist with these efforts. The county police presence remains, though Kinloch continues to operate its own police department and city officials say it is nearly ready to stand on its own.
That's not the only bright spot on the horizon. The City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kinloch, Berkeley and Ferguson reached agreement on a redevelopment plan for 600 acres of land on the northeast corner of I-70 and I-170, along the eastern edge of the airport. Years ago, this land was part of the airport buyout. The redevelopment will offer office, retail, and industrial space and is expected to create about 12,000 jobs, along with tax revenue to be split among the municipalities. The developers, NorthPark Partners, intend to make improvements in Kinloch and donate a new civic center to Kinloch.