The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis announced new and future community and economic development projects to revitalize the Ferguson and Dellwood area to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the police killing of Michael Brown.
The Urban League will partner with First Financial Federal Credit Union to provide auto loans, credit counseling, checking and savings accounts to members of the Urban League’s Save Our Sons program and local residents at the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center, using a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant announced by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.
First Financial Federal Credit Union also will employ Kiara Jefferson, a full-time financial empowerment coordinator and Ferguson resident, to work on-site at the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center to provide budget and credit counseling, as well as access to necessary transportation, mortgage and credit building loans and free and low-cost deposit and checking products.
The Ferguson Community Empowerment Center is built on the site of the QuikTrip gas station on West Florissant that was burned down early in the Ferguson unrest and became an early organizing point for police accountability protests. The Urban League facilitated the acquisition and makeover of the property. “People need a beacon of hope in their communities to show them that it is possible to become successful,” said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
Save Our Sons, a workforce development program created by the Urban League during the Ferguson unrest to help African-American and other men find jobs, also received two new boosts – a $500,000 state appropriation announced by state Senators Jamilah Nasheed, Karla May and Brian Williams, and another $250,000 donation from Ameren.
“From the very beginning, Ameren was involved in working with the Urban League to help resolve the Ferguson crisis,” McMillan said. “As a result, more than 750 men obtained jobs through the Save Our Sons program.”
McMillan announced future plans for the Urban League Plaza, a shopping center strip mall on West Florissant at the former site of an Advanced Auto Parts store and Juanita’s Clothing Boutique that were destroyed during the unrest.
He said the Urban League Plaza will feature a full-service bank, restaurant and banquet facility, and minority business incubator. The project will host First Bank as its anchor tenant along with Sweetie Pie’s Restaurant, At-Home Care and other minority-owned businesses and services.
“We are excited to provide further economic development to this Ferguson-Dellwood corridor which was affected by arson during the crisis,” McMillan said. “It is our hope to see the Ferguson/Dellwood area completely restored and provide increased services to its residents.”
For more information or to assist with any of these projects, call (314) 615-3662 or visit ulstl.com.