Monthly archive for October 2020

Citywalk News for November

Now that we are in the midst of autumn and the temperature has dipped, we can’t sit back and wait for fair weather to get out to keep our community tidy. We must continue to pick up where others have lapsed in their courtesy.

Ferguson is lucky to have certain residents that notice an issue and take the matter into their own hands to correct the problem. Two of these residents, Ank and Susan Ankenbrand, when they would go out for their daily walk, noticed that Ferguson had a litter issue. So, during their walks they took it upon themselves to pick up the trash that they would happen across. The next day, they wanted to enjoy a leisurely walk to enjoy their beloved town when they noticed that when they walked down the street, that they picked up the day before, it was just as bad as it was during yesterday’s walk.

They got into the habit of bringing trash bags along on their walks and began making it a point of picking up the litter that disgraced our streets. The more they walked, the more they picked up. Soon the bags that they carried along their routes would be full and there would still be more to be picked up. But they just got more bags and continued picking up the rubbish that people would thoughtlessly leave behind.

As with many projects, the more you do, the more you learn. Soon, the Ankenbrands found that if they used those pinchers that were invented to retrieve objects from higher shelves would also work to pick up litter. Without having to bend over to pick up every little piece of paper, bottle, or can, they would just reach out with their pincher and drop the object in the bag. The fuller the bags got, the easier it was to rip out the bottom. They solved this problem by using empty dog food bags. These bags are reinforced to carry heavy weights of dog food, and they work great for rubbish too. ”These bags are great because I can use them multiple times without worrying about the bottom being ripped out”, says Susan. Ank adds, ”We simply cut a hole on the side of the bag and line the edges with duct tape which makes the bag easier to carry”.

The Ankenbrands have come to the conclusion that they cannot clean Ferguson single-handedly. They have begun a grass-roots effort to involve other like-minded residents to pick up and keep Ferguson a litter free community. If you would like to get involved with this group of citizens, you can contact Ank and Susan at rsank@sbcglobal.net.

If you remember how the city looked after the City-Wide Clean-up, you know what we can accomplish in one morning. Even though the city was close to litter free after that morning, this is not something that can be done once a year, we must carry on! Get involved.

I’ve also noticed a lot of chatter on one of Ferguson’s Social Media sites about our downtown. How can we help the business and building owners to get their businesses in tip top-shape? With the pandemic playing havoc with the economy of the small businesses that we count on in our downtown, what can the city offer as an incentive to make our downtown beautiful?

With a lot of businesses closing down, and companies allowing their workers to work from home, commercial real estate is going to be hurt because of the pandemic. Will the owners of the empty buildings be willing to work with small businesses allowing these businesses a short-term lease, or maybe split a building into an incubator of small businesses to share a space? We toured a building a little over a year ago where the space was split into small, two or three hundred square foot areas linked together by a common space. This worked out really well because not everyone is capable of setting up a business in their home, especially if you have clients visiting your business.

I don’t know where or what happened with all of the posts from the social media, but the first thing that needs to get done, is all of the boards need to come down. If glass needs to be replaced, replace it. That includes the Police Station! What kind of example are we setting if we can’t clean up our own house? After the boards are down and glass replaced if necessary, then the windows need to be decorated to what you want your business to portray. Take a look at Style-Tenasous at 427 South Florissant Road. When I drive by and look at their windows, I know exactly what they have to offer. We have a lot of work to get our downtown and city back to the vibrant main street it once was. Are you up to the challenge? I know you are. Get involved by getting Ferguson cleaned up, join us any time you have a chance to do your part. Talk to your elected officials and find out what they are doing to help our main street become the downtown you want, and if you have any ideas, tell them. As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and neither will Ferguson, but we need to start somewhere. Will you be part of the renaissance?

fergusonmainstreet.org

Citywalk News for October

 

These past couple of months, I’ve been sharing with you the four-point approach of the Main Street Program which consists of; Promotion, Organization, Economic Vitality and Design. The Italicized part is cut from the Main Street Website that explains one of those four points. Then I will give you my thoughts on how we can work together to make the points work together to make our community the community we love.

Promotion – projects a positive, unified image to identify downtown as a gathering place. Revitalization programs market the district and the community through a series of targeted activities such as special events and festivals, which highlight the local culture, art, music, dance and traditions that give each community its unique identity.

Revisiting the Downtown Vision that was discussed last month, Ferguson planned to use Main Street’s ‘Four Point Approach’ as the direction to make our downtown an appealing destination. With the help of the business owners and the citizens, the Ferguson City leaders can lead us to make the best use of this approach, which has been described these past few months.

As you know, due to the pandemic, many of the activities that we have been enjoying for many years had to be canceled. With a positive attitude, I believe we will be getting back on track to sponsoring some activities in the near future. The concerts at 501 may return, but not as frequently. StreetFest may be just one evening, Northern Lights may just be the parade. Whatever comes about is only the beginning of the many great things that will be a part of Main Street, our down town.

What can you do to make our downtown like that again!?

For starters, let’s pick up the trash. Did you know that clean streets show that you respect your community? Talk to the business owners and ask what they need help with to get our downtown looking beautiful again, and persuade the City of Ferguson to ask building owners what can be done to help them get their buildings back in order.

Then of course, we can frequent our businesses and tell them that they are a very important part of our community and without them, we would have no community. Encourage the business owners to get involved with their Main Street by setting the example, be a part of the Main Street program yourself.

By supporting the local businesses, you are supporting your city. Any tax money being brought into our coffers only goes to help the city support our community. Even though we share the taxes collected with other communities around St. Louis County, if we support our own, we will have fewer empty buildings, businesses will see your support, which allows them to grow, which means more employees, which goes hand-in-hand with less unemployment, which means a positive local economy, which means more money to hire bigger and better entertainment.

See how it works? Ferguson is going to be a great place to be during the ‘Rolling Twenties’ of the 21st Century. Check it out; Ferguson MainStreet is looking for volunteers to help make our Down-Town a downtown of which we are proud. This is a fairly new organization that has been trying to gain some momentum to encourage the businesses owners, residents of the city and the City of Ferguson, what a showcase our DownTown can be. Why not get involved and join us, so that we, together can make our downtown, our Main Street.

Check out the website listed below and contact us when you are ready to make a commitment to Main Street, your DownTown. With the help from the Missouri Main Street Connection, (MMSC), we will use their ‘Formula for Success’ to create a positive structure that will enable a group of people to work together to bring our downtown, our Main Street, the success it needs to move our community forward. Let’s get some traction behind our ‘Main Street’ Get involved. Stay involved. Make Ferguson a community you want to call home.

FergusonMainStreet.org

Citywalk News for September

The past couple of months, I’ve been sharing with you the fourpoint approach of the Main Street Program which consists of; Design, Promotion, Organization, and Economic Vitality. The Italicized part is cut from the Main Street Website that explains one of those four points. Then I will give you my thoughts on how we can work together to make the points work together to make our community the community we love.

Design- enhances the visual attractiveness of downtown. This includes technical assistance and encouragement to building owners toward the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures, street and alley cleanup, colorful banners and landscaping. Attention must be paid to safe and efficient infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and the appearance of storefronts, signs, street lights, window displays and graphic materials. Design improvements should be developed through a public-private partnership by  reinvestment of public and private dollars in downtown.

In the late nineties, the Downtown Vision in Ferguson planned to use Main Street’s ‘Four Point Approach’ as the direction to make our down town an appealing destination. The plan was heading in the correct direction and was beginning to make headway before everything got turned around.

Today, our downtown doesn’t look the way that the Vision of our Downtown was supposed to look as planned in the late 90’s. Our Main Street was to have all of the things described in the Design section as outlined above. Buildings were restored and maintained. The sidewalks and their gutters were cleaned of trash. Planters blooming in season and decorated seasonally. Colorful banners waved in the breeze on our beautiful streetlights. People sitting on benches greeting whomever came along. It was going to be a downtown that you were proud to stroll along, hand-in-hand with your date. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?

That’s not what I’m seeing along our Main Street now. I don’t see storefront windows displaying their ware, shopkeepers sweeping up the sidewalk, wonderful aromas wafting from the bakery on the corner with coffee brewing. Unless you can look past the boards.

What can we do to make our downtown like that again!? For starters, let’s pick up the trash, that’s easy enough, but if you just don’t know where to start, grab some friends and take a stab at it. Who knows, you might just meet some new friends. Talk to the business owners and ask what they need to help get our downtown looking beautiful again, and persuade the City of Ferguson to ask building owners what can be done to help them get their buildings back in order.

Then of course, we can frequent our businesses and tell them that they are a very important part of our community and without them, we would have no community. Encourage the business owners to get involved with their Main Street by setting the example, be a part of the Main Street program yourself.

Check it out; Ferguson MainStreet is looking for volunteers to help make our Downtown a down town that we are proud. This is a fairly new organization that has been trying to gain some momentum to encourage the businesses owners, residents of the city and the City of Ferguson, what a showcase our DownTown can be. As we began our journey to organize the group, the ‘rona’ came to town, and along with our businesses, the group came to a screeching halt. Today, why not get involved and join us, so that we, together can make our down town, our Main Street.

Check out the website listed below and contact us when you are ready to call Main Street, your DownTown.

With the help from the Missouri Main Street Connection, (MMSC), we will use their ‘Formula for Success’ to create a positive structure that will enable a group of people to work together to bring our downtown, our Main Street, the success it needs to move our community forward. Get involved. Stay involved. Make Ferguson a community you want to call home.

CONTACT

FERGUSON CITYWALK
110 Church Street
Ferguson, MO 63135
(314) 524-5197
EMAIL

 

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