Archive for the News Category

Citywalk News for May

Welcome to our new Ferguson Citywalk Businesses:


  • Schnucks Market – 49 N Florissant Road
  • Examinations LTD Inc. – 119 Church St., Suite 131
  • Ferguson Automotive – 505 Airport Road
  • Astounding, LLC, DBA Safe Mode – 14 Church St.
  • And welcome back, Whistle Stop, 1 Carson Road!

“May I show you a table – or two – or three – or…”


Last month’s column began exploring the Ferguson Citywalk Originals, that is, original restaurants that started right here in the Ferguson Citywalk district. By far the longest established restaurant in Ferguson is Faraci Pizza, which was established in 1968. When the original owners moved the business to Ellisville in 1997, Jim and Dawn Marshall, both McCluer High School graduates, bought it. Jim began working at the original Faraci’s when he was just fifteen years old. Dawn has been there around thirty-two years. Looking for an alternative to franchise pizza chains? Try Faraci Pizza at 520 S. Florissant.


The Whistle Stop is next oldest. Many eyes have been on 1 Carson Road, hoping for another taste of the delicious frozen custard. So The Whistle Stop is resurrected just in time for Spring.


Not long after the completion of the last Downtown Strategic Development Plan, The Corner Coffee House opened in a building that was revamped from a former automotive business, 100 N. Florissant Road. Besides offering coffee made from the “finest of coffee and ingredients” and fresh baked goods, The Corner Coffee House offers a social hub where folks can meet, talk, play games or just contemplate a cup of fresh Ferguson java. Outside seating also fits the vision of the developing Citywalk district.


Set in a repurposed office building, Vincenzo’s Italian Ristorante is named after Joe Lonero’s great-grandfather. Patty Smith has worked at Vincenzo’s since it first opened. Patty considers the restaurant a “hidden gem.” She considers Vincenzo’s Ferguson’s less expensive but just as delicious slice of “The Hill.” New customers are amazed at the quality of the meals. Patty recommends the chicken marsala or the pesce Vincenzo.


Do you work hard, but play even harder? Kelly Braun isn’t sure where their slogan came from, but she can tell you where Marley’s name came from: a combination of “Martin” (her husband) and “Kelly.” Their best kept secret is Pork Steak Wednesday, which features pork steak (of course), with baked beans and your choice of potato salad or cole slaw or deviled eggs. What would she recommend to a first timer? The wings or the jalapeño grilled chicken sandwich. Remember: Cinco de Marley is May 5. Marley’s is located at 500 S. Florissant.


More mouth-watering Citywalk restaurant history next month.

Citywalk News for April

Are You Hungry?


Over recent years, Ferguson has engaged in a visioning process. There has been a particular focus on planning for the Downtown Area. Participants in the 1999 Ferguson Downtown Vision process included “full-service restaurants” as something they wanted to see in the next twenty years. “Downtown Ferguson was once the heart of economic activity for the northern suburbs, featuring streetcar service to nearly the entire region. Florissant Road was lined with restaurants, department stores, offices…” (Downtown Strategic Development Plan, hereafter DSDP, page 17). In a public open house, September 13, 2008, people described the kinds of restaurants they wanted to see: the desires ranged from franchises (with a view to attracting college students, who identify with brands), to white tablecloth dining. There was also a request for international or ethnic restaurants, kid friendly and non-smoking restaurants, healthy food choices coupled with hamburgers. So: an eclectic assortment of restaurants.


Where is Ferguson Citywalk at today making this a reality?


There are twenty-four or more restaurants in the Citywalk district. It’s “or more” if you include the three bakeries and the potential of grazing at the Farmers Market.


So what have we? First of all, there are currently four pizza places: Imo’s, Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s and Faraci Pizza (a Ferguson Original). There are several franchises: Popeye’s, Quiznos, St. Louis Fish & Chicken Grill and Subway. There are four Chinese restaurants: Chinese Express, New Chinese Gourmet, Ferguson Chop Suey and Queen’s House.


Then there are the Ferguson CityWalk Originals. The beauty of original, non-franchised locations is that they can only be found here in downtown Ferguson (except for Faraci Pizza, established in Ferguson, which has expanded to other locations). It’s great for Fergusonians in two ways: it presents some nice options close to home, and it draws people into the area.


These are the Ferguson Citywalk Originals: Banana Yummies, Cathy’s Kitchen,Celebrity Southern Soul Food, Cork, Corner Coffee House, Drake’s Place, Faraci Pizza, Ferguson Brewing Company Restaurant and Pub, Marley’s, Mimi’s Subway Bar and Grill, Vincenzo’s Italian Ristorante, The (soon to return) Whistle Stop, (Montrey’s Cigar Lounge isn’t technically a restaurant, but it is certainly a Ferguson CitywalkOriginal.)


The restaurant business can be tough. Small businesses do not have the economies of scale that a McDonald’s or Domino’s boasts: small businesses pay more for ingredients and equipment than a big franchise. That means they must charge more than McDonald’s – of course, you get a higher quality menu item for that money. The hours are demanding and create a real balancing act for a family business. With all those challenges, this small area along Florissant Road, Airport Road and Darst has a pretty nice concentration of small business restaurants.


The next few columns will explore the restaurant history of the Downtown District (Ferguson Citywalk). Possibly, by the time the current locations have been written about, there will be one or two new arrivals!

Citywalk News for March

A warm welcome to these new CityWalk businesses:

  • Ryse Network, 25 S Florissant Road; and
  • Affordable Mattress & Furniture LLC, 149 S Florissant Road

CityWalk Arts!


“Bee Bum” in Jeske Sculpture Park

There is a vision among many “Fergusonians” that this city might become a destination for the arts. With a growing number of arts-related businesses and venues little by little this vision is being realized.


Corners Frameshop & Gallery, located at 2 S. Florissant provides custom framing services to residential and commercial customers throughout the metropolitan area. Robin Shively, owner, has earned the designation of Certified Picture Framer by the Professional Picture Framers Association. Her gallery primarily displays art and gifts handcrafted by local artists, many of whom are from Ferguson and North County. These artists are also showcased at frequent exhibits and First Friday events. You can reach Corners at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.


Almost Picasso wants you to know that this is “the perfect place to go for a fun-filled afternoon or evening! Our instructors will guide you through each step, to recreate a painting, in a light-hearted, party atmosphere!! Be sure to bring your favorite wine/beverage and snacks!’” Almost Picasso is located at 18 Church Street. Call 314-801-6671 for more information.


FYI (Ferguson Youth Initiative) at 110 Church Street offers SLAM on the first Friday of every month, 6-9 p.m. in the Back Bay area. Youth can participate for free in open mic, spoken word, music and art. For information, contact info@fyifergyouth.org.


Good Shepherd Gallery, 252 S. Florissant hosts exhibits of spiritual art throughout the year. This month: “Corporal Works of Mercy,” March 5-31, with a reception Sunday, March 5, 1-3 p.m. Call Glynis McManamon, RGS, at 314-522-1155 or email rgsicons@yahoo.com.


The 427 GALLERY, located at 427 S. Florissant Rd, is a non-profit public service provided by Pearce Neikirk and Partners Realtors, LLC. The 427 GALLERY has proudly exhibited the artistic work of over 30 area artists since 2011. Exhibits are hosted by the featured artist and with specific exhibit times. The 427 GALLERY is very happy to announce the continued exhibition of the art of Mary Nichols through the month of March. Mary is a local, well established artist and has in the past been associated with the Northern Arts Council. For information on scheduling please call 314-521-5002.


Ferguson Farmers’ Market has invited artists to demo creative activities and Northern Arts Council has been involved in Art at the Market.


Viewing of the sculptures at Sculptureworks Ferguson, 830 S. Florissant Road, can be arranged by contacting Michael Quintero (mquintero@stlcc.edu) or Bryce Robinson (brycer@wustl.edu). Saturday March 11 Sculptureworks Ferguson will hold an opening reception for “Whistle While You Hum,” a solo exhibition by Ryan Doyle from 6:00-9:00 p.m. On Saturday, April 1, “Iron Pour in the Park” will take place at Jeske Sculpture Park, an all-day event brought to you by Sculptureworks Ferguson.


While the Jeske Sculpture Park is not within the CityWalk boundaries (the seven acre park is located at 211 Thoroughman Avenue, and on the web at www.jeskesculpturepark.com) the Jeske Sculpture Park Commission is also working to expand the presence of public art into Ferguson’s downtown business district. Currently the CityWalk District can boast two public sculptures, both by Bryce Olen Robinson, himself a Ferguson original. “Primary Lines” can be viewed in front of 401 S. Florissant Road. “Emergent Behavior” stands in front of 419 S. Florissant Road.


Want to promote the arts in Ferguson and throughout North STL County? A good contact is Dana Sebastian-Duncan, volunteer and acting director of the Northern Arts Council (NAC). Contact NorthernArtsCouncil@yahoo.com or 314-896-1278 (324-896-1ART).


NAC also has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NorthernArtsCouncil/.

Citywalk News for February

It’s a month for hearts, flowers, and sweets for the sweetest. We give a heartfelt welcome to a new CityWalk businesses: First Aid Credit Repair – 111 Church Street, Suite 202.


We are blessed with three bakeries here in Ferguson. Looking for something delicious to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Here are some suggestions: If you and your sweetheart are early risers, why not share a delicious breakfast at Spencer’s Bakery at 100 Church Street? Breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday. An especially sweet deal on the menu is their special with two eggs, sausage or bacon, hash browns, toast or biscuits. All this for $4.95 including tax.


Natalie DuBose at Natalie’s Cakes and More invites you: “Come to Natalie’s to share love for Valentine’s Day.” Hosting a party on February 14? Check out the Natalie’s menu at : www.nataliescakesandmore.com. Note that their “Signature Caramel Cake” is also available in cupcakes. Natalie’s is located at 100 S. Florissant Road.


Beth Thompson wants to entice you with some exquisite Cose Dolci delights: “delicious chocolate covered strawberries and heart shaped decorated butter cookies- individually bagged with a ribbon.” And that’s just two of their sweet temptations. You’ll find more delectables at www.cose-dolci.com. Cose Dolci is at 425 S. Florissant Road.


And speaking of sweets, good news at the Train Station. Matt Kohler has been approved by the City Council to re-open the Whistle Stop. His target date is March 1, 2017.

Citywalk News for January

January: when we all make resolutions. Here in Citywalk we are resolved to continue growing, becoming an ever stronger and healthier community. New businesses continue to open. A belated welcome to Papa John’s Pizza, 419 S. Florissant. Another new eatery slipped in: Banana Yummies, 497 Airport Road. Tax Prep Zone has opened just in time: 195 N. Florissant.


St. Louis Dazzling Diamonds Dance Company

St. Louis Dazzling Diamonds Dance Company

Meanwhile, we have some Dazzling Diamonds among us! The St. Louis Dazzling Diamonds Dance Company (STLDDC) is a traveling, competitive, trophy award winning majorette dance team, founded by Naomi Ashby and DeAndre Isom. STLDDC’s mission statement is: “The St. Louis Dazzling Diamonds Dance Company’s Mission is to educate, inspire and instill principles of teamwork through the love of dance and cultivate it into a passion for a purposeful life.”


In addition to competing, STLDDC performs at community events, volunteer productions, fashion shows, sporting events, parades, birthday parties, charity events, and showcases. More than eighty-five kids (predominantly girls, but boys are welcome) practice every day at 48 S. Florissant, rehearsing Monday through Friday, 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, 9-5 p.m. They have been featured on the t.v. show “Bringit!” When asked why they have set up their location in Ferguson, Ms. Ashby said, “So many of our children who participate in our dance programs live right in this area.” STLDDC is currently raising funds for a dance floor. They have visions of expanding their programs beyond dance to agriculture and arts, having kids grow gardens and learn to cook what they grow. They will start offering programs for adults in the near future. STLDDC will open to the public in February 2017.


If you would like to become involved you can email them at stldazzlingdiamonds@gmail.com.


Remember:

• Celebrate the Life of Brian Fletcher, Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Ferguson Community Center.

• Ferguson’s Indoor Farmers’ Market January 21, 2017 at 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Citywalk News for December

First of all, I want to offer a big thank you to the restaurants and patrons who participated in Dine Out on November 9th! All the figures aren’t in as of this writing, but through your support and generosity, over $2,550 was raised to benefit our award-winning Ferguson Farmers market.


The Holiday Season in Citywalk officially kicked off with the Northern Lights festival and lighting of the Christmas tree at Victorian Plaza, adding to the festive decorations on street lamps and businesses! The lighted decorations along Citywalk can be viewed and enjoyed from carriages on Thursday evening, December 8th. The carriage rides are offered free to Ferguson residents and employees of Ferguson businesses, courtesy of Citywalk, to show appreciation for your continued support of our businesses and events. Join us that evening at Plaza 501 for hot cocoa, toasty fire pits and a Christmas movie.


Another traditional event is the Ferguson Christmas Twilight House Tour, which benefits the Ferguson Caring League. On Sunday, December 4th, seven wonderfully decorated private residences will be open for viewing. This year, the variety of architectural styles include century-old Victorian and Italianate manses, classic Bungalow cottages, and Mid-Century Modern ranches. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Corner Coffeehouse, Paul’s Market, or City Hall. They may be purchased on tour day at Pearce Neikirk and Partners Realty, 427 South Florissant Road.


There are many more special holiday events at businesses, churches and schools along Citywalk and down neighboring side streets of which to take advantage. Get out, enjoy your community and show your support by shopping and dining at Ferguson’s many fine local shops and establishments! We at Citywalk, wish you a peaceful and joyful Holiday Season!

Citywalk News for November

On December 4th, prepare yourselves for touring. Comfortable clothes and walking shoes are the order for the day because you won’t want to miss the 2016 FERGUSON CHRISTMAS TWILIGHT HOUSE TOUR. The Ferguson Caring League is featuring seven beautiful homes on the tour this year. These private residences represent a variety of architectural styles and the halls are completely decked with boughs of holly. The tour runs from 3:00 until 7:00 pm, and weather permitting, is bike friendly. Tickets go on sale November 1st and can be purchased at Paul’s Market, Corner Coffee House or Ferguson City Hall. Tickets may also be purchased on December 4th at Pearce Neikirk and Partners Realtors, LLC at 427 South Florissant Road from 1:00 until 4:00 pm. All proceeds go to the Ferguson Caring League to conduct their good work in and around Ferguson. Many of Ferguson’s restaurants, cafes and shops will be open and offering tour specials as well. Get a group of friends together and get touring!

 

An introduction is in order for one of our newer businesses on CityWalk. Straw Hat Aquaponics, located at 258 So. Florissant Road (in the former Gaga’s for Gifts Shop) is the brain child of a group of excited and talented entrepreneurs, Tom Bortz, Alex Limpert, Tim Hydar, J.P. Knoblach, Rick Evers and Dan Bortz, Tom’s brother. They all have a common denominator which is the passion for growing, and best of all, eating, fresh vegetables. Straw Hat is a farm without tractors and combines. The science is as cutting edge as what you will find in the Silicon Valley (well almost). While the operation is focused on wholesale growth and sales of greens and lettuces for restaurants and retailing to the Ferguson Farmers Market, a retail outlet may be coming soon. Visit them on facebook or at strawhataquaponics.com. I will be looking for their IPO.

 

Well, there you have it; another month enjoying the quality of life found in Bedrod Falls . . . or as we all know it . . . FERG!

Citywalk News for October

September was a busy month! Our Citywalk Concert Series at Plaza 501 featured three local bands for the last concert of the season, delicious late summer produce was available at the Farmers Market, and the month ended at Victorian Plaza rocking to the diverse music of six different bands.

 

We also said goodbye to Toni Roper, who has been the public “face” for Citywalk events and promotions the past three years. We will miss her huge smile and seemingly unending energy! We wish her well in her new position at the family business, Roper’s Ribs.

 

Some new businesses opened in September on Citywalk. One of those is the Community Birth and Wellness Center at #8 Church Street in the historic Bindbeutel Building. They are staffed with certified nurse midwives and offer complete prenatal, birth and postpartum care, as well as breastfeeding support.

 

October will bring some good reasons to get out and enjoy the (hopefully) nice Fall weather on the Citywalk. Shepherding Images Gallery has the photography of Henry Chaney, entitled The Awakening, on exhibit until October 8th. FYI has some of the painted boards on display until October 30th as part of the multi-venue Outside In/Paint for Peace exhibit and they will also have a Slam arts event for teens on Friday, October 7th. Local authors, including Ferguson resident Braxton DeGarmo and Immanuel Church’s pastor Jimmy Watson will be at Corners Frameshop & Gallery also on Friday evening, October 7th. Weekend nights usually brings live music to be heard at various restaurants and bars on the walk, and October is the last month to shop at the award-winning outdoor Ferguson Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

 

Next month we’ll have wonderful November events to talk about, but it is not too early to plan your float for the Northern Lights parade! This year’s theme is Favorite Holiday Movies. Watch this paper for details and entry applications. Till next month, see you on the walk!

Citywalk News for September

The column below was previously published in the February, 2016 Ferguson Times. At that time, the City was struggling with how to balance the budget for the City’s General Fund. Since then, two tax increases have been passed in order to shore up the General Fund. The downtown business district continues to operate as noted below without using funds from the General Fund.

 

Budgets, budgets, and more budgets! There’s been lots of talk about budgets in the City during the last few months. One good thing that has come out of these conversations is that more and more residents have become knowledgeable about where the City gets its money and what the City spends it on.

 

Maybe you’ve wondered where the downtown business district (also referred to as “CityWalk”, or “FSBD”, or just “S. Florissant”) gets its money from and what it spends it on.

 

What the downtown business district spends its money on is easier to answer because the results of that spending are very visible. Downtown events such as the Farmers Market, the Concert Series at 501, Streetfest, Northern Lights, and the Christmas Glow Carriage Rides are all funded, some completely and some partly, by the downtown business district. Most of the advertising for these events, so people far and wide know about them, is also paid for by the downtown business district. In addition, the downtown lighting, trashcans, benches, and public landscaping and art are all paid for by the downtown business district.

 

So where does the downtown business district get its money from? There are two funding sources: a special tax that downtown businesses pay when they renew their business licenses; and the proceeds from the downtown TIF district. (Explaining how a TIF district works is beyond the scope of this column, but google “TIF” if you want to learn more.)

 

There you have it. Money flows into two funds that the City has setup for the downtown business district, and that money is spent on the things you see and the events you enjoy along the downtown corridor.

Citywalk News for August

As the fall months are quickly approaching, we begin to prepare for kids starting back to school and all the fall activities in September and October. This would be a great opportunity to consider volunteering.

CityWalk has many events, festivals, and opportunities available for you to volunteer throughout the Ferguson community. Here are a couple of functions that you may want to consider:

  • Ferguson StreetFest is North St. Louis County’s largest annual outdoor music festival that draws thousands of visitors each September. We are looking forward to a great turnout on September 24, 2016. Renowned for its great live music, crazy fun events and mouthwatering food vendors, the event has hosted some of the Midwest’s top musicians and performers.
  • Everyone loves the annual Manly Man High Heel Keg Relay and the Girly Girl Combat Wench Relay.
  • Don’t miss out on this year’s great live entertainment. There will be crafts, food, artisans, and activities for kids and delicious food galore. You won’t want to miss one second! Ferguson StreetFest is looking for sponsors and planning committee members. If interested, please email citywalk@fergusoncity.com or call 314-524-5197. More details are coming soon.

With the start of the school year fast approaching, you may want to pay a visit to Akers computers, one of our new businesses on CityWalk. It is important for parents and the community as a whole to set the tone for the start of the year. Let’s make sure that our kids have all the resources and support needed for a successful start to the year.

Volunteering at your local school not only supports our students, but strengthens our community as well. From collecting school supplies for children to providing school staff with educational resources, your volunteerism is essential. Let’s make certain that our children are provided with the academic stability that will ensure success. The Ferguson-Florissant School District will be hosting a Back to School Festival and Literacy Fair on August 6, 2016, from 10:00 am-1:00 pm. For those interested, there will be a Back to School Run starting at 8:00am. We look forward to seeing you there.

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FERGUSON CITYWALK
110 Church Street
Ferguson, MO 63135
(314) 524-5197
citywalk@fergusoncity.com

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