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Citywalk News for December

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”


It’s December and that means the colder weather, holiday parties, family gatherings and, love or hate it, shopping. This year the business district hosted its very own Shop Small Saturday event featuring breakfast snacks, giveaways, festive music and drawings. We continued the day by decorating for a bigger and brighter Northern Lights Festival. This month we talk about the importance of shopping locally and the impact of local business to our city.


American Express is a big supporter of shop small and every year they provide free giveaways, marketing and information on how to make your own Shop Small Saturday Event and ideas on promoting sales. According to the American Express website: “Shopping at home stimulates the local economy. When you shop at home you are creating jobs, funding more city services through sales tax, investing in neighborhood improvements and promoting community development. Shopping locally provides for more choices and better customer service. Local businesses provide products and services from local craftsmen and artisans that you won’t find outside your community. Most local businesses are quick to respond to you, stocking products to meet your need, and are more than happy to carry and order special items you want. Local merchants will just be more accommodating. When shopping at home you are often greeted by the owner, your neighbor or your friend who show their gratitude by providing you personal customer service every time; meaningful customer service with a personal touch because it matters to them that you are satisfied and will come back. They survive by their reputation, which means you get a high standard of service.


Local business and their employees invest back into the community. They give back to the community by volunteering their time at non-profit events, coaching sports teams, etc. They are the sponsors of many community events and projects. This directly benefits you, your friends, your family and your neighbors. In many ways, the dollars you spend locally are returned to you.” For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. That money helps pave roads or fix up parks or many hundreds of other things that your city does. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community. Finally, local business makes our community unique. You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s, why have our community look that way?


There are many ways you can help your local small business. You can share their social media posts, recommend them to your friends, mention them in your blog, sign up for their newsletter and always review them. Book your holiday party there. Buy your friends and family gifts and gift cards from your favorite places. It might become their favorite place! The downtown business district has everything you need and more businesses arriving soon.


Upcoming Event: Christmas Caroling Pub Crawl; Dec. 8th, from 6:00 till 9:00 p.m., with a number of downtown businesses participating.


All CityWalk business owners are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. F.S.B.D. meets at Baked Wood-Fire Pizza, 235 S. Florissant Rd. For more information, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for November

The purpose of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board is “to be an efficient organization for guiding the collective enhancement and business climates within the Downtown Special Business District”.


As the board focuses on new business development and current business retention, we asked ourselves, what could Ferguson do to facilitate easier navigation of the process and procedure for developers and prospective new business owners? We have explored this challenge through participation in the National Main Street Convention last spring and hosting several meetings here in Ferguson with the Missouri Main Street Convention. We have also researched what has been successful in other business districts by reading articles and studies, meeting with Cape Girardeau city leaders and taking part in conference calls with other downtown directors. We learned that cities that make economic development a priority seem to have something in common. They either have a designated staff person who works one-on-one with a developer to guide a project through completion, or have several staff members assigned to this task, each of whom are designated to assist in specific areas. The main goal is that when a developer or prospective business owner calls or visits city hall, they have a knowledgeable, passionate ally to guide them through the process of getting their business open or project completed. Business owners that have had a positive experience and feel welcomed into the community are more likely to be good advocates. The best advertising a city can do to attract new businesses is for its current business owners to tell others, “open here”.


Over the last few years many news outlets have asked what makes the Ferguson downtown business district special. Our answer is always the same; invested business owners, hard-working volunteers and private development. We believe that encouraging private local investment in development is crucial to Ferguson’s survival. We also believe that through partnership and cooperation between the city and the downtown business district, we can market the city as business friendly in an effort to take Ferguson to the next level. Researching development and retention programs to benefit potential developers and new business owners, soliciting businesses to locate here within a business-friendly atmosphere and continuous open communication with those property owners is a must. Other avenues to economic vitality of the downtown business district we seek may include; working with realtors to help bring quality tenants and businesses to downtown, and nurturing relationships with UMSL and some of the larger corporations in our area to explore possible opportunities.


We have some fun and exciting events planned in Citywalk for this Holiday Season!


Shop Small Saturday, November 24th. Kickoff will be 9:30am @ Plaza 501, with lists of participating businesses & special offers, refreshments, drawings and more! We’re going to have a fun Shop Small event in Ferguson Citywalk this year! Several shops, boutiques, restaurants, salons and other small businesses in the district are participating. For late starts after 10:30am or in the case of inclement weather, kickoff will be moved to Corners Frameshop & Gallery at 425 S. Florissant Rd.


Ferguson Northern Lights, Nov. 25th @ Plaza 501, 5-9pm. This is going to be an expanded Holiday event this year, with all activities at Plaza 501! There will be gift vendors from 5-9; parade beginning at 5, with tree lighting immediately following at Plaza 501; and carriage rides from 6-9.


Christmas Caroling Pub Crawl, Dec. 8th, 6-9pm, tickets available online at Eventbrite.com


CityWalk business owners are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Baked Wood-Fire Pizza, 235 S. Florissant Rd. For more information, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for October

While researching ideas on transforming downtown districts, I stumbled upon “12 strategies that will transform your downtown” and I was struck by #6: “The most successful downtown districts have many major functions (employment, residential, entertainment, shopping, etc.). A key ingredient for creating a diverse downtown district is to have major destinations that draw people to downtown for reasons other than employment. Many cities have pursued professional sports teams for this reason, but this approach only yields intermittent  benefits, because major league stadiums/arenas lie vacant much of the year.” I instantly thought of Plaza at 501; we are working so hard to make this space the most beautiful, inviting space in the downtown area! Have you been by the plaza in the last few days? We have already started on the pavers and coming soon, the community garden beds!


If you keep reading the “12 Strategies’ article, #10 talks about the importance of private investment. Until people are willing to invest their time, their money, their energy . . . no area will be transformed. If you visit downtown you will see an incredible amount of private  investment, from Baked to the yoga studio; developers and business owners are investing blood, sweat and tears to make downtown Ferguson successful. According to the article, “Downtowns that offer a new, exciting district provide residents with a reason to check out what is going on in the center of their community.” A major upside of this strategy is that it can help to turn around the perceptions and reality of downtowns that have are not vibrant. Perhaps the best example of this strategy is Oklahoma City’s Bricktown, a large mixed-use entertainment district that has transformed OKC’s one-time “dead-after-5pm” downtown into what is now hailed as a 24/7 attraction. Bricktown, which makes up the eastern section of downtown OKC, was filled with abandoned buildings as recently as the 1990s. Today, thanks to major infusions of public and private investments, the district is home to dozens of restaurants and bars, thousands of hotel rooms, and a growing number of residences.” We may not have thousands of hotel rooms, but we already have a vibrant downtown, with more to come!


Ferguson City Walk would like to welcome its newest member, Exclusive Fashion Bar, 800 S. Florissant Rd.


Upcoming Events:

  • Ferguson Farmers Market, Saturday’s through Oct. 20th, 8-12 @ Plaza 501.
  • Ferguson Northern Lights, Nov. 25th @ Plaza 501, 5-9pm.
  • Christmas Caroling Pub Crawl, Dec. 8, Various Downtown Businesses, 6-9pm.

CityWalk business owners have a standing invitation to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. FSBD meets at Bakes Wood-Fire Pizza, 235 S. Florissant Rd. For more information, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for September

This past Friday several members of the Ferguson Special Business District and the Ferguson Main Street Board attended a Strong Towns meet and greet.


Strong Towns described, “As a media organization leading a national movement for change. We’re challenging every American to fundamentally rethink how our cities are built, and we’re shining a spotlight on an approach that will make us truly prosperous.”


As we talked, every person had heard of Ferguson and each person knew something different about us. One young couple spoke about the houses and how beautiful they were, another lady spoke about the Ferguson Brewhouse, the organizer spoke highly about EarthDance Organic Farm School and yet another spoke about the new lofts. It was an honor to able to represent this diverse town!


Fall is in the air; the kids are back to school and we can start enjoying those cool evenings on the patio again. Drake’s Place, Marley’s Bar and Grill, Ferguson Brewing Company, Cork, Baked Pizza, Cathy’s Kitchen, and Vincezo’s all include outdoor seating. We invite you to take a stroll after dinner and visit our shops and galleries in the downtown district.


Speaking of September, September means one thing in Ferguson, STREETFEST! This year’s festival is Sept. 28/29 and features great live music, food, retail booths and last year’s favorite – the glowing bubble bus. If you want to get involved (we always need volunteers), contact Marveena marveena@fergusonmainstreet.org. Dirty Muggs will be featured Friday night and Super Jam Saturday night.


The farmers market continues through October, with the third-annual Farm to Table, Saturday, Oct. 6th at Plaza 501. Tickets available every Saturday at the farmers market. The community garden is beginning to take shape and will be ready for fall planting, anyone interested in volunteering or reserving a plot can contact the Friends of the Market Garden Committee at fomgarden@gmail.com.


Preparing for the holiday season, Northern Lights will be held at Plaza 501, Sunday Nov. 25th 4-8pm this year. After the parade, stay for the tree lighting, free carriage rides and kids’ events.


Want to stay in the know for all the downtown business district news? You can visit our new Ferguson Main street website at www.fergusonmainstreet.org or text “fergmainstreet” to 22828 to sign up for our weekly newsletter, and be sure to like us on Facebook at Ferguson Citywalk. It is the easiest way to stay in the loop.


CityWalk business owners have a standing invitation to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. FSBD meets at Thomas Professional Building, 910 S. Florissant Rd. For more information, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for August

Ferguson Farmers Market is getting comfortable in our new home at Plaza 501, located at 501 S. Florissant Rd. (Redundant, I know!) Have you been to visit us at our new home? If not, consider this a special invitation for you, your family, and friends! We now have electricity, fixed restrooms, a convenient ATM on site, and some great new vendors. This Saturday morning tradition brings you fresh fruits and veggies, picked within 24 hours of our market and brought directly to you by the friendly farmers who grow them. We are open during the months of May through October, every Saturday from 8am -Noon.


Enjoy live music in a festive family atmosphere, and discover a wide variety of edible delights, including homemade jelly, farm fresh eggs, cheese, honey, spices, and organic meats. You’ll also find an ever-changing array of gift and specialty vendors, selling everything from cut flowers and bedding plants to hand-painted artwork and small-batch soaps. Please stop by to make a purchase and support our local vendors, including; Audrey Gail Jewelry, Divine Handcrafted Gifts, Doggie Wanna Cookie, Fit-Tritionist, Garden Stepping Stones, Goose Creek Soap, I Love Ferguson, Kay’s Kreations, Llamazing Bath Products, Northern Arts Council, Pawtastic Treats, Ruministics, Alpacas of Troy, Earth Dance Farm, Dietz/Siebert Farm (Beef, Pork, and Gus’s Pretzels), Hahn Farm, Kamp’s Peaches, Larder and Cupboard, Metro Greens, Missouri Honey, Mr. B’s Salsa and Hot Pepper Products, Pappardelle’s Pasta, The Raw Juicery, Ricardo’s Street Grill, Cool Delights Shave Ice, Just Omelets, La Fuente Mexican Food Hank & Anita’s Coffees & Teas……. If it’s homemade, handmade or fresh and tasty, you can buy it at the Ferguson Farmers’ Market!


The Ferguson Special Business District Board, along with the Ferguson Main Street Board is focused upon making the Ferguson Downtown a more economically vibrant area. In order to achieve that goal, we are researching ways to make the commercial district pedestrian-friendly to attract more visitors to the small businesses along Florissant Rd. In the coming weeks, you will hear a lot about Traffic Calming, which is the deliberate slowing of traffic in residential and certain commercial areas. According to a recent Strong Towns (www.strongtowns.org) article, “The first step towards encouraging the growth of small and locally owned businesses is to make roads human-scaled. The goal is not to move people through your town’s retail areas, but to support the businesses in those areas. Do this by slowing down the cars, narrowing lane widths, widening sidewalks, adding bike lanes and parallel parking, and by growing an urban forest to provide shade and cleaner air to the pedestrians walking from store to store” (6/5/18).


What would traffic calming look like in Ferguson? It would reduce the current four-lanes to three lanes and add 45 downtown parking spaces. The reduction would be from Carson to Suburban. You might be familiar with this plan, it was conducted by the City of Ferguson in 2013. Although 2013 might not have been the right time, many residents, as well as members of the FSBD Advisory Board believe the time is now. The Ferguson downtown area is growing with new businesses that weren’t around in 2013 when traffic calming plans were drawn, such as: Style-Taneous Styles, Om Turte Cafe, Blessings Closet, Baked Woodfire Pizza, Red’s BBQ, Trader Jeans, Papa Johns, Drake’s, Natalie’s Cakes, Couturier for a Cause, Wild Blossoms Boutique, and Almost Picasso, to name a few.


With the average car traveling much faster than the posted speed limit, we think the time to act is now. There have been comments and complaints on social media and at council meetings about speeding on both residential and commercial streets. To illustrate safety concerns, consider an example of a car exceeding the posted 35 mph speed limit on S. Florissant Rd. A car traveling 50 mph requires 122 feet to stop while a car traveling 20 mph requires only 20 feet. To give you some perspective, market tents are 10 feet, when you walk the market the craft side has 12 tents, that’s how long it would take a car to stop if a child walked out in front of a car traveling 50 mph in our downtown district. Looking at it in another light, “If a car is traveling 40 mph and you are hit by it you have a 10% chance of survival, a car traveling at 20 mph has a 90% chance of survival” (Car Crash Detective, 9/15).


Traffic calming is just one of the ideas for revitalization of our downtown business area. To show your support for this and other initiatives, come to Ferguson Main Street’s next public meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at 5:30pm in the Council Chambers of Ferguson City Hall. Updates can be found on the City Walk Facebook page. This meeting will focus on organization and operation for Ferguson Main Street.


All CityWalk business owners are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2nd Thursday of every month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Thomas Professional Building, 910 S. Florissant Rd. If you are the owner of a business in the Ferguson Special Business District and would be interested in serving on the Advisory Board, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for July

Ferguson celebrates “Summer Fun” is the 4th of July Festival’s Parade Theme for 2018 and it is perfect! We expect a lot of decorated floats this year with such a fun and easy theme! This year the festival will be on June 30th. The parade kicks off the celebration at 12 noon, starting at 500 S. Florissant Rd and heading north to January Wabash Park. The festival will feature live music, games, food and lots of new activities.


This year, through partnering with the City of Ferguson and Ferguson Parks and Rec, the 4th of July Festival is excited to announce a reduced rate for pool entry between 1:00 and 4:00, as well as duck races in the lazy river pool. Live music starts at 2:00 and fireworks conclude the day at 9:15. The all-volunteer committee has spent all year fundraising and planning for this one-day event and they hope you enjoy the new activities! Do you have ideas and want to get involved? The committee meets at the Ferguson Community Center the 1st Monday of each month at 6pm. The day’s schedule of activities are listed on Page 1 in this issue of the Ferguson Times.


Writing about parades, street closures and walking around downtown, brings up thoughts of walkable cities, which a number of economic groups say support a strong downtown district. A recent report by Strongtowns stated, “The first step towards encouraging the growth of small and locally owned businesses is to make roads human scaled. The goal is not to move people through your town’s retail areas, but to support the businesses in those areas. Do this by slowing down the cars…”. Ferguson Main Street and Ferguson CityWalk are working together to gather more information on becoming a more walkable city. In the weeks ahead, you will see new signs around town displaying walk times to the Plaza at 501 from different spots in town.


Friends of the Market is planning a walkable scavenger hunt in the fall and a put-put pub crawl in early 2019, all in hopes of getting people out and walking in our beautiful downtown district. FSBD and Ferguson Main Street are researching the 2013 traffic calming study that was done by the City of Ferguson. In the last five years a lot has changed and now may be a great time to reevaluate reducing Florissant Road from four-lanes to three in the downtown business district. History has shown a lane reduction slows traffic, increases foot traffic and helps increase business in the area.


Be sure and visit our new Ferguson Main Street website and sign up for a newsletter for the most up-to-the-date information on the downtown business district.


CityWalk business owners are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Mobile Eyecare Solutions, 248 S. Florissant Rd. For more information about FSBD and how to become involved, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for June

On Thursday, May 3rd, the first of several town hall meetings about the Missouri Main Street program was held in the Ferguson City Council Chambers. It was well attended by over 30 residents, business owners, city staff and council members. Those who were not able to attend may have seen it featured on Channel 4. An introduction to historic commercial district revitalization using the “Main Street Four-Point Approach” was presented by Community Development Coordinator Keith Winge of Missouri Main Street Connection. Participants then broke into groups based on the four points to discuss their ideas, goals and desires for the future of Ferguson Main Street. If you are interested in volunteering with the Ferguson Main Street organization, please email marveena@fergusonmainstreet.org and watch for a follow-up meeting to be held in June. Committees will be organized to focus on each of the four points.


Those committees are:


  1. Economic Vitality; business retention & recruitment, marketing & demographic studies, and developing a direction for downtown.
  2. Design; public spaces, facades, streetscapes, public improvements (sidewalks, parking, signs), and establishing a historic commission and museum.
  3. Promotion; logo & image development, special, historical & cultural events, retail promotions, and creation of brochures.
  4. Organization; structure & by laws of corporation, organization of committees, fundraising plans, downtown work plan, downtown information gathering, and public relations.

In other news this month, we extend our welcome to Ferguson-Dellwood Community Resource Center, a new member of our downtown special business district. They are located at 409 South Florissant Rd., in the same building as the Edward Jones office of F.S.B.D. board member Joe Meyer.


Two of our newer restaurants continue to set the table and spread out good eats for Ferguson residents and other patrons from beyond the city limits as well.


Red’s BBQ, which has been bustling at 304 South Florissant Rd., began at 3400 West Florissant and operated a food truck as well. Burned beyond recognition in the wake of August 2014’s unrest, the establishment moved to the corner of Goodfellow and Natural Bridge in order to continue operations. However, customers were few. Red’s has now come home to Ferguson, with a grand opening on November 11, 2017. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays a steady stream of cars enters and leaves, and numbers of orders are announced over the loud speaker at a lively clip. Asked if he will expand his hours beyond Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the owner asserts: “No.” They start cooking in the morning and serve until closing time (9 p.m.) or until the day’s smoked and grilled fare is gone. The menu includes Red’s famous rib tips, pork ribs, pork steak, chicken (whole, half, wings), beef, with beans and potato salad available as sides.


Long-awaited Baked Woodfire Pizza Joint had their soft open on March 5 with a fundraiser for FYI. Their official opening was on (what else?) Pi Day, March 14. Since then, Baked’s pizzas have been hot, both figuratively and literally. The pizzas are fired at 800 degrees. Not a typical chain pizza joint, the menu is extensive. They offer unique “table shares” such as pear and hot honey crostini, antipasto and roasted brussel sprouts. They serve generous, savory salads, and the gorgonzola dressing is a signature offering. The menu lists fourteen designer pizzas. Where else can you find Wake and Bake – a white pizza topped with an over easy egg? Vegan: try the vegan Hungry Planet Chorizo which incorporates plant-based chorizo and Daiya dairy-free cheese. They serve an Apple Pear Prosciutto; the Golden Greek with lamb, feta cheese and tzatziki drizzle; and the “Beetzza” – yes, roasted beets – try it, you will like it. Not into experimentation: flip the menu over and you can order a BYO pizza, assembling your preferred assortment of crust, sauce, cheese, proteins, veggies/fruit/nuts, and glazes. There is even an option for gluten-free crust. Leave room for dessert: cinnamon nuggets, gelato (vanilla bean, espresso and Nutella) and blood orange sorbet.


The Citywalk Advisory Board meets the 2nd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the offices of Mobile Eye Care Solutions, 248 South Florissant Rd. All Citywalk business owners are welcome and encouraged to attend. Interested Citywalk businesses should contact Robin Shively (cornersframing@gmail.com, or 314-229-0325) for more information.

Citywalk News for May

The Market, It is A-Changing

Most of us resist change. Change upsets equilibrium and can generate stress. Change sends us off into the unknown. Even though we may be curious about that unknown, we are also fearful – what if it doesn’t work out? And yet “Without change, there
can be no progress. Without change, there is only stagnation,” (quoted from a post on the Market’s Facebook page).

On Saturday, May 5, when the Ferguson Farmers’ Market opens its 2018 season, there will be a big change: you will not find the FFM at the Victorian Plaza.

On May 5, the Ferguson Farmers’ Market (FFM) will open at Plaza 501. This is great news! And why would that be great news?

  • Plaza 501 was originally built to house the farmers market (depending on who you ask).
  • Plaza 501 has more space. It is just simply bigger.
  • Plaza 501 will allow the businesses that depend on the Victorian Plaza parking lot to better utilize it to accommodate for business growth.
  • Plaza 501 already has a covered area, permanent bathrooms, electricity and running water.
  • The Maline Greenway will eventually connect to the Plaza at 501, allowing people going to the market to get there by foot or bike which would reduce parking needs
  • Businesses near Victorian Plaza need the parking spaces. There are 261 parking spots adjacent to Plaza 501: 39 in the back lot, 30 in the lot behind Ferguson Brewing Company, 27 next to Meineke, 30 at the Edward Jones lot, 67 in the Cork lot, 42 in Marley’s lot, and 26 in the Papa John’s lot. There will be four handicap parking spaces (as there were at Victorian Plaza).
  • Crosswalks and lights will make approaching the FFM safer.

So, what do the vendors think of this change?

John Phillips of Hank & Anita’s Coffee says: “…the location is highly visible. The accessibility is so much greater. The signage is excellent, and the pavilion is perfect. We expect larger crowds all summer!”

“It will give BKM Fitness, New Chinese Gourmet, Natalie’s Cakes and More, Aldi and other surrounding businesses utter a sigh of relief for their customers parking on Saturday morning. Our New location has great off-street parking, no interference to local business and a perfect design area for a very well-organized farmers market.” Meats & Moore

“The 501 Plaza is the perfect spot for the Ferguson Farmers Market. There are fixed restrooms, electricity, and ample room to grow the market.” The Raw Juicery

To end with another Facebook user’s comment about this change: “I don’t know why this didn’t happen years ago!!!”

Citywalk News for April

Baked Wood Fired Pizza Joint held their grand opening on Pi day, March 14. Located at 235 S. Florissant Road, the new pizzeria offers unique recipe pizzas, baked in a wood fired oven. The menu also includes appetizers, wings, salads. Gelato is on the dessert menu.

MISSOURI MAIN STREET

Have you heard? The Ferguson Downtown Special Business District (FSBD) has received a grant from the Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC). MMSC is dedicated to the development of a sustainable, volunteer-based organization that will carry out an economic development program based on the preservation of historic assets in the downtown commercial district.

The Main Street America movement has helped revitalize historic downtown areas for more than thirty-five years. It is a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The MMSC volunteer Board of Directors includes Main Street professionals, revitalization and preservation specialists, professors, attorneys, bankers, legislators and Missouri Department of Economic Development staff members. The MMSC has already served 178 Missouri Communities.

During the next two years MMSC will provide FSBD with training and mentoring to establish a volunteer revitalization organization. This organization will in turn engage the entire community as a participant and beneficiary. The group also will attend regional revitalization workshops and conferences conducted by MMSC.

This is great news for small businesses. The Main Street Connection process supports entrepreneurship and private investment in historic districts. Ferguson residents, business owners, and community leaders are invited to a meeting at Ferguson City Hall, Council Chambers, Thursday, May 3rd, 6-8pm. No registration is required. Missouri Main Street Representatives will present the Main Street 4-Point Approach® to Revitalization. Attendees will form groups based on these four points: organization, economic restructuring, design and promotion, and discuss what the community would like to see happen in each of the four areas. Typically, each group generates a large list; then prioritizes by casting votes for the most important, achievable activities to implement in the first year of work, putting other choices on the “back burner.” At the end of the evening, each group will report their top priorities. This information will then be used by the four corresponding committees to draft Action Plans for the CityWalk Board to consider.

CityWalk business owners have a standing invitation to attend meetings of the Ferguson Special Business District Advisory Board, which meets the 2rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. FSBD meets at Mobile Eyecare Solutions, 248 S. Florissant Rd. For more information, please contact Robin Shively at 314-495-7452 or cornersframing@gmail.com.

Citywalk News for March

Welcome to Citizens Against Discrimination, located at 111 Church St., Suite 201. Kawana Waddell, owner of Style-Taneous Styles, plans to open a women’s boutique at 426 S. Florissant Rd. She anticipates a soft opening around March 16th and a Grand Opening on March 31st.


Congratulations to Nehemiah Project’s Epicenter: they recently opened a second-hand boutique, Couturier for a Cause, at 104 S. Florissant Road. Proceeds from sales support the Nehemiah Project, and affordable housing agency that serves Ferguson and surrounding cities.


REVITALIZING THE DOWNTOWN: A WORK IN PROGRESS


With the downtown TIF (Tax Increment Financing) ending in 2023, there is a need to bridge the gap to continue work begun in the downtown Ferguson Special Business District (FSBD). The good news is that FSBD has received a Downtown Revitalization Grant from Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc., which assists revitalization programs in Missouri’s historic commercial districts. You’ll be hearing a lot about this initiative in the future. For a moment, let’s look at some of the recent history of the FSBD,with the assistance of Steve Wegert, former mayor and current president of Sportsprint, 6197 Bermuda Road.


The downtown area was marketed by the Ferguson Station Business Association (FSBA). In the early 2000s, the FSBA hired Shannon Howard and began to rebrand, moving away from the long-recognized train theme. The business owners wanted to develop a more up-to-date image. Thus, CityWalk emerged. During this time, the organization began expanding its trademark events, such as Northern Lights and Street Fest.


Prior to this, the FSBA survived on self-taxing revenue from the business licenses issued in the district. They raised approximately $35,000 annually with which they could carry out special projects, sometimes with the help of loans from the city. An example is the Victorian street lights you see in downtown Ferguson.


In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s there was a big push in marketing Ferguson as “the place to be.” This led to the establishment of a TIF district to fund projects which would enhance the downtown district. Steve Wegert named many, many business owners and entities who were instrumental in this phase of downtown Ferguson’s development and feared leaving anyone out. However, most significant were Joe Lonero and Farzad Faramarzi.


Farzad relocated his popular Thyme Table restaurant on the strip renovating a vacant Hardees and opened the Savoy banquet center in the old Savoy theatre. When Joe Lonero was unable to persuade Starbucks or Panera to locate in the downtown area, he established the Corner Coffee House (sadly, now closed). Vincenzo’s restaurant, the purchase and complete renovation of the old Sportsprint building to include lofts and retail space, the Brewhouse and Streetcar Lofts all followed. Many of those projects would not have been possible without funding from the TIF. CityWalk continued to add to projects to make downtown Ferguson a destination for persons outside of Ferguson. The Farmers Market developed into a CityWalk project. Later, concert nights were added. Much work remains, because revitalization is a work in progress. The world changes and business districts must evolve as well to attract customers. More next month on the Main Street Grant.

CONTACT

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

 

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