Many Working Toward a Revived West Florissant Avenue

By on April 21, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Along the stretch of West Florissant Avenue in Dellwood that was ground zero for the civil unrest that grabbed the nation’s attention in 2014, two conspicuously vacant lots on the busy corridor still serve as reminders of the damage from almost five years ago.

But behind the scenes, leaders of the municipalities that share jurisdiction of West Florissant Avenue, nonprofit groups and a St. Louis County economic development agency have been laying the groundwork to attract more investment to an area still scarred by the Ferguson unrest.

“I want to see that area that’s been through so much receive as much attention and continuous support so that it can be rebuilt completely, and as people come here from across the country and the region, that they get a chance to see the rebirth of Ferguson and Dellwood and that West Florissant corridor,” said Urban League President and CEO Michael McMillan.

It hasn’t been two years since his organization opened its $4 million Ferguson Community Empowerment Center a half mile south of those two still-vacant lots that once housed an Advance Auto Parts and a local business, Fashions R Boutique.

The Urban League is now planning two construction projects on those lots, which it bought with the help of a donation from Emerson, the multibillion-dollar global manufacturing giant that calls Ferguson home.

On one site, the Urban League hopes to build a business incubator; on the adjacent lot, it would develop a commercial building to lease space to a sit-down restaurant and other businesses. It would also serve as a home base for its Save Our Sisters women’s support program.

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