Citywalk News for January 2015

It’s a New Year, and time to make those New Year’s Resolutions.

Of course, this year our resolutions will look different than the ones we’ve made in the past. With the hubbub everyone experienced this past year, we need to think about rebuilding our community. We, as business owners, cannot wait for the city to put everything back together.

Talk to your business neighbors and find out what they do and how you can help them get more business. This works both ways and with each other’s help, everyone profits, even if the only result is that you get to know your neighbor better. We need to promote each other. Your customers may be able to use another business in town, and that customer tells a friend and they may become a new customer for you. We need to promote the area so that our customers will not be skeptical about coming into Ferguson. This will be a good starting point.

Get involved; work with the other businesses in town. By working with likeminded businesses owners, this will not be a daunting task. It will take some time, but together, we will be able to build our businesses and our community back to its former glory.

On a lighter note; our Northern Lights Festival was a smashing success, even though it was scaled back. The weather was perfect for mid-December and hundreds of Ferguson residents and their children enjoyed the event. There were plenty of crafts for the kids to work on and, as usual, there was lots of food, including free cookies and hot cocoa.

Some of our local children helped our Mayor, James Knowles, and Santa Claus, light the Christmas tree to cheers from the crowd. Chatting with Santa, he told me that he felt that he needed to be in Ferguson this year, even though it was only 10 days before his annual trek. So leaving his head elf to handle all of the last minute preparations in the work shop, Santa was able to help Ferguson spread the joy of the holiday.

(This section reserved for the General Membership Businesses of the FSBD.) Our board meeting is held every third Thursday of the month. We meet at 5:30 pm in the offices of Pearce Neikirk located at 427 S. Florissant Rd. Our next meeting is January 15th and all businesses located in the Downtown District are invited. We hope to see you at our meetings and if there is anything that you would like to share with your fellow district businesses, let us know; we’d be happy to help you get the word out.

Until next month, I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. Introduce yourself to your neighbor and keep on walking, we’re CityWalk!

Citywalk News for December 2014

I woke up this morning and everything was back to normal. The ‘new normal!’

You’re probably thinking, “Normal, this doesn’t look like normal!” Well this is our new normal and there is no way around it. And this could be good! As you know, there have been a lot of people coming into town wanting change. This has prompted everyone to look at Ferguson and how it needs to proceed. This is our  community and we don’t just want normal, we want progress! We want Ferguson to be the best that it can be! But how do we move forward?

The city government, policing, and courts have their own work to do. But it doesn’t stop there! All of us in the city have a vested interest. We need to keep working to hold onto what we have and continually work to move forward. As I wrote in last month’s article, the Proud Organization cannot get to a certain point and coast from there; they need to continually look at where they are and always work towards the next goal. We must always be working towards the next level and be ready for any surprises that come our way.

Our businesses in the Downtown District need to continue to work together and watch out for everyone’s interest. This has been something that has helped CityWalk to be considered the ‘nice’ part of town. There is nobody saying that the West Florissant businesses cannot be considered the other ‘nice’ side of town. All that needs to be done is that those businesses need to get together and ask that all important question, “How can I help grow this area to improve the flow of business for my fellow business owners?” All it takes is to step up and pick up the ball before it rolls away!

The Ferguson Special Business District (FSBD), a self-taxing organization, was organized in the mid-1980s to work with the city government to promote and beautify the downtown district. At that time, downtown had a lot of empty store fronts with very little business being done. With the hard work of these pioneering business owners, they encouraged many entrepreneurs to invest their own money and time to help the downtown district to grow to what it is today. We have many new businesses moving into this area because what I have heard businesses in other community’s say, “Ferguson is the place to do business because of how the business owners work together.”

Over the past few months, you’ve heard me talk about how everyone needs to get involved. We are all in this together. This is the new normal even though it should be considered normal. It has always been a joint effort. A few cannot do it all. Step up and be part of the solution. When the solution has been reached, we cannot sit back, we need to continue making new goals. This is how we grow.

As a reminder to all of the business owners located in the Business District, keep an eye out for your invitation to our annual Christmas Party. These invitations will be sent out via email and snail mail. If we don’t have your email address, this will be a good time to share it with us. We look forward to meeting you, our fellow business owners. Remember, we are all in this together and a couple of words that describes us all, businesses and residents alike . . . United we stand, divided we fall! Think about it!

Citywalk News for November 2014

It was 20 years ago today, that Sargent Pepper taught the band to play.

Lennon and McCartney

Those words were written 47 years ago and are still heard today on radio stations throughout our country.

It was 20 years ago today that the City of Ferguson, with the help of 500 citizens from our urban oasis embraced the idea of ‘Diversity’ while adopting the ideas set forth from the Oak Park Exchange Congress, known around the country as the Oak Park Strategy.

It all started when the Oak Park Housing Center opened its doors to promote fair housing, integrating their neighborhoods and preventing white flight. The promise was that housing values would not decline and that people from all races could live together and flourish as a community. The Oak Park Strategy just celebrated their 42nd anniversary and they are still working today to keep this idea moving forward.

The Congress featured speakers that understood the values to be gained by living in diverse communities. For instance, Dr. Robert Archibald, president of the Missouri Historical Society, pointed out that true patriotism in America must include a commitment to racial and cultural inclusivity. “More and more people are deciding they want to live and raise their families in integrated communities, knowing they are involved and making a choice in building their community.” Mayor, Mike James, 1994.

From this strategy, Proud (People Reaching Out for Unity and Diversity) was born. Bill Duncan and Ed Ferguson co-chaired this group in the hope that, “the Exchange Congress will create action on the part of the public to urge local government to take a more proactive direction with regard to diversity and integration.”

Citywalk News for October 2014

Be a Doer. . . Get Involved

Membership and participation is a continuous effort and it involves everyone to communicate to others the importance of the full involvement of businesses and citizens.
–David Pope, Ferguson Focus, May, 1989 

As was yesterday, is today! Being a part of something that is bigger than an in- dividual is the only way we can grow our community. It’s always been that way and will always be that way.

Brian Fletcher has spearheaded the “I ‘heart’ Ferguson” campaign in an ef- fort to show the metro area as well as the nation and world what Ferguson is all about. Fletcher and his group has helped our community come together to tell everyone why Ferguson is our ‘Community of Choice.’ If you don’t have your yard sign or T-shirt, you will find someone at the Corner Coffee House to help you. Together, we can show the world what it means to be a community.

There are others that have stepped up. Ferguson Proud is a Face Book group that has been supporting all of the businesses in Ferguson. They not only back the businesses that have seen horrible things happen to their business loca- tion, but also the ones that have lost revenue because their customers do not want to get caught up in the middle of the commotion.

We are all in this together. If our local businesses are not able to operate as usual, they lose revenue. If they lose revenue, the city loses revenue from the lack of tax dollars being generated. If the city doesn’t generate enough money from the businesses through their sales, our roads, parks and other infrastruc- ture are neglected. It is up to us as citizens to remind our neighbors and friends that our community needs them to continue on our journey to make the place we live, the place we raise our children, the best place that it can be.

Now is the time to get involved. We will bring Ferguson back to what it was! Let’s take the time, step up and make it happen.

Every third Thursday of the month is The Ferguson Special Business District board meeting. We meet at 5:30pm in the offices of Pearce Neikirk and Associ- ates located at 427 S. Florissant Road. Our next meeting is October 16 and all businesses in the downtown district are invited. All I am asking is that all busi- nesses join together and help put Ferguson in a positive spotlight!

Until next month, I’ll be walking ‘The Walk,’ taking the steps to move Ferguson forward! Would you like to join me?

Citywalk News for September 2014

Steady Rain doesn’t Dampen the Spirits of Ferguson Residents at Farmers Market.

Saturday, August 16, 2014; Even as a steady, soaking rain fell upon the farmer’s fields, saturating the earth and spreading its nutrients to the roots of their plants, fruits and vegetables, the camaraderie of the market patrons spread sunshine into the heart of Ferguson.

We now have an opportunity to spread the spirit of diversity throughout our community that PROUD (People Reaching Out for Unity and Diversity) started almost 10 years ago. Now is the time to support what our community has to offer.

I hope by now the media is gone and we have started the healing process to bring our community back to what we had before the commotion began. How can I get help in the healing process?

Get involved. Take the time to support your fellow business community. I know that nobody has a lot of time with all of your everyday activities of running your business, but all business owners have these same duties. Make the time. Schedule an appointment with your business neighbor. Get involved.

The Ferguson Special Business District is a group of your fellow business owners dedicated to promoting Ferguson as a community that has your best interests at heart. They work hard planning events that brings people to Ferguson who are not familiar with Ferguson.

Have you been to one of the concerts at the Plaza at 501? Are you planning on supporting Streetfest?

In last month’s ‘Ferguson Times,’ Mama Lisa, the author of Djeli Tales, asked the question as to why Ferguson didn’t have a list of the African-American business owners. Wouldn’t it be better if these business owners were to get involved so that everyone knows who they are as opposed to being on a list? Now is the time to get involved and bring Ferguson back to where it was before this commotion began. Let’s take this time, step up and make it happen.

Every third Thursday of the month is our board meeting. We meet at 5:30pm in the offices of Pearce Neikirk & Assc. office located at 427 S. Florissant Road. Our next meeting is September 18 and all businesses in the downtown district are invited. All I am asking is that all businesses join together and help put Ferguson in a positive spotlight!

Until next month, I’ll be walking ‘The Walk’, taking the steps to move Ferguson forward!

NOTE: Possible opportunity for one month billboard for CityWalk businesses. For more information call 314-524-5197 or email

Citywalk News for August 2014

We have been enjoying quite the wonderful summer this year. The weather has been unseasonably cool, and the breeze has been taking the edge off of the warmer days. Let’s take a walk on ‘The Walk.’

Have you noticed the community service project down by the railroad trestle? FYI, (Ferguson Youth Initiative), with the help of their mentors and chairperson of the Beautification Committee, Linda Hensiek, has whipped that area into something to behold. They had a new rail installed that matches the existing railings along Florissant Road, installed a trellis along the trestle wall, and planted flowers and shrubs in the area. More is planned for that little park, so keep your eyes on that corner and you’ll see these groups hard at work.

Another project that has been in the works for a long time is the installation of new trash cans on the west end of the Business District, along Airport Road. These receptacles are being installed at the bus stops in the hopes that the ridership takes advantage of their location. With everyone’s help, let’s keep this end of the district clean and free of trash. If you are walking along Airport Road and happen to see one of these cans, take advantage of them and toss in your trash.

And the bands play on. This month, you can expect a wide array of music from our entertainers at the Plaza at 501’s Concert Series. Pat Liston, a founding member of the 70’s group, Mama’s Pride will be gracing the stage on August 8th. You can expect some of the classics that his group made popular way back when, as well as his new songs that will be sure to send you home humming. Anita Rosemond and her band will be covering the standards that have been around for quite some time. If you have eaten at Vincenzo’s, and enjoyed the background music there, you’ll recognize the songs that Rosemond will bring to Ferguson. She will be performing on August 22nd. We’ll be looking for you at the concerts at the Plaza at 501 in August.

(This section reserved for the General Membership Businesses of the FSBD.) Every third Thursday of the month is our board meeting. We meet at 5:30pm in the offices of Maureen Zeugin whose Edward Jones office is located at 409 S. Florissant Rd. Our next meeting is August 21st and all businesses located in the Downtown District are invited. You will soon be seeing our quarterly Business Newsletter with news about what is going on in the Business District. Let us know what you like and if there is anything you would like to see in future editions. Now is the time to get involved. We hope to see you at our meetings and if there is anything that you would like to share with your fellow district businesses, let us know, we’d be happy to help you get the word out.

Until next month, we’re walking; that’s right, walking the walk, CityWalk.

Citywalk News for July 2014

Happy Independence Day and greetings from CityWalk! It seems like yesterday when I was talking to you about the con- certs are getting ready to start and that spring was just around the corner. And here we are heading straight into the Dog Days of Summer! Where does the time go?

The Concerts at the Plaza at 501 are in full swing. With the weather getting warmer, you will be able to stay cool while enjoying a jazzier line-up of musi- cians this month. On July 11th, the Coleman Hughes Project featuring Adri- anna Felton will be taking the stage offering up their version of cool. Everyone will want to dig out their Caribbean shirts on July 25th for the Tumbao Tropical, a Latin Jazz Band, whose rolling rhythms will get your feet a-tappin’ and your hips a-swayin’, while you enjoy that cool feeling from the winds wafting through the palms. Make sure you check your calendars and make it a date to welcome these groups to Ferguson. Now that’s Cool!

Have you walked down to Drakes Place yet? It’s located just south of the Plaza @ 501 in the old BBQ building, across from the Laundry Basket. They offer an American Cuisine with a lot of sandwiches, burgers and other quick plates that can be enjoyed for lunch as well as dinner. Councilman Tim Larson, Ward 1, said that he really enjoyed the steak he was served by Drake. My wife and I enjoyed a meal there a couple of weeks back and she raved about the grilled salmon and even though I’m not one to eat Italian anywhere but at home or at an Italian restaurant, the spaghetti and meatballs were, how do you say it? Magnifico! Race on down to Drakes Place; you’ll be glad you did.

Before I get to the business at hand, I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th and I hope to see you at the parade and the festival at J-W Park. The Fourth of July Committee has been working diligently to make sure that Ferguson has this festival every year. I would like to tell everybody on the committee that they are doing a great job and we really appreciate their hard work. Thank You!

(This section reserved for the General Membership Businesses of the FSBD.) Every third Thursday of the month is our board meeting. We meet at 5:30pm in the offices of Maureen Zuegin whose Edward Jones office is located at 409 S. Florissant Rd. Our next meeting is July 17th and all businesses located in the Downtown District are invited. We also sponsor business workshops through- out the year. Last month, there was a workshop on how to use Social Media to help grow your business. If you have always wondered about this subject, you missed a very informative workshop that opened my eyes as to how to use So- cial Media. We hope to see you at our meetings and future workshops so that all of our businesses will grow by giant strides.

Until next month, we’re walking; that’s right, walking the Walk, CityWalk. Happy Birthday America.

Citywalk News for June 2014

Did you see “In your Neighborhood” on Fox 2 News on May 2, 2014? If you missed it, you can see all of the segments on the website right here.

I’ve been doing a lot of walking and talking about CityWalk in this column. But do you even know what CityWalk is? Well, if you weren’t quite sure, fasten your seatbelts because you are in for some groundbreaking information and it is what I like to call, “What is CityWalk? And why are we always walking?”

CityWalk consists of ten blocks along Florissant Road, Church Street, and Airport Road. It is home to a wide array of restaurants, bakeries, gallery style specialty shops, entertainment and music venues, quality service companies and much, much more. You could just about find everything you would need to live a fulfilling life on CityWalk.

The Ferguson Special Business District (FSBD) is a board of nine business members whose businesses are located in the district. Their purpose is to promote the district and encourage the general membership (which is any business located in the boundaries of the downtown district) to get involved with other businesses to promote the common good of the CityWalk area. If your business is located in the CityWalk district, you should know who you are because you pay a special tax with your business license.

Yes, the FSBD is a self-taxing organization and with the help of the City, those monies are used to help promote CityWalk. All of the concerts at the Plaza at 501, the Farmers Market, Food Truck Mondays, the Carriage Rides, these are just a few of the activities that are sponsored by the FSBD. These events were created for YOU, your friends and neighbors from the City of Ferguson and your friends and family. There’s always something happening on CityWalk and you need to be here to see for yourself.

Did you know that CityWalk boasts the Ferguson Historical Museum? Everything you wanted to know about how our city became the community that we enjoy is in the museum. The old Train Depot houses the museum and while you’re soaking up all of the history the museum has to offer, you can enjoy a cone or sandwich, or one of the special treats that are offered at the Whistle Stop. You never know, a train may come rumbling down the tracks while you’re enjoying a frozen custard.

(This section has been reserved for the General Membership Businesses of the FSBD, you know who you are.)

Every third Thursday of the month is the FSBD board meeting. We meet at 5:30pm in the offices of Pearce Neikirk and Partners Realtors located at 427 S. Florissant Rd. Our next meeting is June 19th and all businesses located in CityWalk are invited. We will also be sponsoring business workshops in June that are designed to help you grow your business. You will receive an invitation in the mail, so don’t just think of it as a solicitation, think of it as an “invitation for growth.” We are all in this together, and together we can all promote CityWalk and watch the area where we chose to do business grow.

Until next month, you will see me walking; that’s right, I knew you were wondering when we were going to get to the walking part… See you on “The Walk,” CityWalk!

Citywalk on Fox 2 News!

On Friday May 2 Fox 2 New in the Morning came to Citywalk for their In Your Neighborhood Segment! We were happy to welcome Margie Ellisor, Kevin Steincross, Glenn Zimmerman and Tim Ezell to Ferguson. Thank you to all involved. We had a blast! Did you miss it?  Don’t worry, you can view it online. Be sure to watch all 18 short videos on Fox 2 News’ website HERE.

Citywalk News for May 2014

Spring has sprung on CityWalk and the festivities have begun.

Were you at the Plaza at 501 for the Food Truck event? It was awesome. There were five trucks stationed around 501 serving up their fare. A Slice of Italy, Steak Louie, Shell Coastal Cuisine, and Andrew’s Bayou Ribs and to finish off a wonderful meal from whichever truck you chose, Sarah’s Cake Shop. There was a large gathering of our neighbors as well as our area business neighbors. All of the Food Truck vendors were happy with the event, even with the threat of inclement weather. All in all, this event was a success, and with this success, you can count on more Food Truck events. I will tell you this, from here on, I brake for cupcakes.

Our first concert at the Plaza at 501 was Samba Boom. If the turnout for the concert was as successful as the food truck event, it was great. Just remember, we have a lot more concerts to come. Concerts that will be featured during the month of May include Einstein. Einstein is a group of musicians that have been traveling the musical circuit for many years. Classic rock, old school R&B and the Blues will be on the menu when Einstein takes the stage at the Plaza at 501 on May 9th. A local group that has been playing around Ferguson and the entire St. Louis area will grace the stage on May 23rd. Our own Chuck Henson will be leading the band from behind his congas holding the beat together while they perform in the genres of R&B, Classic Rock and Funk. If you like that old time rock and roll, these two groups’ performances won’t let you down.

More concerts this month will coincide with the event of events right here in Ferguson. That’s right; I’m talking about the Live Well Twilight 5K, 10K, and One Mile Fun Run. Every year, Live Well has exceeded their goal with the tremendous turn outs that they have received, and being the only organized twilight run in North County, I’m sure they will do it again. You have probably been seeing a lot of people running on the streets, training to get their shoes prepared to run another 3.1 or 6.2 or even one mile. This is the premier Event in Ferguson, even if you’re not a runner. Mark your calendar and come on down to the Plaza at 501 on May 17th and join in on the festivities. You know I’ll be walking down The Walk, CityWalk, to run the 5K.

You’re thinking . . . did this columnist forget to tell us who the entertainment might be for this great event! Of course not! I was just whetting your appetite. The pre-run entertainment will be Palm Duo, featuring the island sounds that can only be produced by Steel Drums. You can count on those steel drums to put a little more spring in your shoes before the beginning of the run. Then for the main event, everyone’s favorite entertainer, Javier Mendozza, will be burning up the stage during the evening, after the run. May 17th at The Plaza at 501.

There are lots of things happening on The Walk, and you don’t want to be left out. So, lace up your walking shoes, and walk on down. We’ll be looking for you.

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