Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

QuikTrip That Burned in Ferguson Protests Is Now a Community Center

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 2:51 PM

click to enlarge The Urban League's new community center — a first-of-its-kind partnership, had its grand opening today. - PHOTO BY QUINN WILSON
  • The Urban League's new community center — a first-of-its-kind partnership, had its grand opening today.

Today, on the land that once held rocks and charred rubble resulting from pain and unrest, a new center opened for the Ferguson community. Nearly three years after the shooting death of Michael Brown and the high-profile protest movement it ignited, a new symbol of hope opened its doors in the north St. Louis suburb.

The Ferguson Community Empowerment Center (9420 West Florissant Avenue, Ferguson) sits on the land that held the QuikTrip torched by angry protesters in August 2014. The site then became a staging ground for the fiery protests that gripped the nation.

President and CEO of the National Urban League Marc H. Morial says that the Urban League wants to shine a "very bright light" on the city of Ferguson and the St. Louis area, as community members have worked over the past three years to convert "anger into action."

Sponsored by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center opened its doors to the community this morning. First proposed by the National Urban League in July 2015, the $4 million center received a mix of public and private funding.

The 13,500-square-foot facility will house programs run by the Urban League, the Salvation Army, the Lutheran Hope Center and the University of Missouri Extension.

As Post-Dispatch, more than 75 percent of the workers and contractors who built the center were African-American.

The new center received $1 million in tax credits from St. Louis County.

click to enlarge The opening drew a packed house of dignitaries and locals. - PHOTO BY QUINN WILSON
  • The opening drew a packed house of dignitaries and locals.

President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Michael P. McMillan, says, "It is an historic opportunity for us to serve the people of Ferguson. The first time in 99 years the Urban League ever constructed a facility from ground up. And first time in 259 years of service that the Salvation Army and Urban League have ever co-owned a facility."

Today's ribbon-cutting ceremony coincides with the National Urban League's four-day conference in St. Louis, which will feature a town hall meeting entitled "State of Black America." The conference includes a collection of urban mayors discussing economic needs, a career fair and a volunteer day in which 10,000 backpacks will be donated to school children. The conference is expected to draw up to 20,000 people.

The new center will also include a memorial to Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by then-Officer Darren Wilson. The concrete base of the memorial was mixed with 100 stuffed animals which were apart of a makeshift memorial to Brown on Canfield Drive, where he died.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 3, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation