Like the four stores above (Advance Auto Parts, Fashion R, TitleMax Title Loans, Little Caesars), most of the businesses that were looted, vandalized, or burned to the ground were in a two-square-mile block on or near Florissant Avenue — Ground Zero of the Nov. 24 riot.
Three days after the riots, The Buffalo News reported that “Officials of the Missouri Department of Insurance (MDI) met with business owners at the Ferguson Public Library Wednesday to help merchants file claims.” MDI spokesman Chris Cline said: “We’ve been working off a list of businesses that we believed to have been affected and reaching out to them.”
The only thing wrong with this picture is this:
Two years beforeOfficer Wilson shot Michael Brown, setting off a series of protests and riots that culminated in the Devil’s Night of looting and arson on Nov. 24, 2014, there was already a plan — the Saint Louis Great Streets Initiative — to redevelop and revitalize the West Florrisant Avenue corridor.
St. Louis county Great Streets Initiative – West Florissant Road
In the spring of 2012, elected officials, staff, and residents for the cities of Dellwood, Ferguson, Country Club Hills, Flordell Hills, and Jennings, along with representatives from St. Louis County Highways and Traffic and East West Gateway Council of Governments formed the West Florissant Avenue Committee, recognizing the need for the revitalization of the West Florissant Avenue corridor. The redevelopment strategy for this corridor focused on a 4.5 mile segment of the arterial roadway, beginning south of I-270 and continuing southward through the listed five municipalities, concluding at the city limits of Saint Louis City.
The fundamental goal of this collaborative effort was to compose a strategic plan for the redevelopment of West Florissant Avenue corridor that would significantly improve the quality of life of the individuals who utilize the thoroughfare and also to transform the area to allow increased accessibility and support long term economic development within the corridor.
The City of Dellwood, in partnership with the City of Ferguson and St. Louis County Highways and Traffic has been awarded funds by East-West Gateway Council of Governments for the redevelopment of the West Florissant Road corridor.
How convenient for the St. Louis Great Streets Initiative that the riots did part of their (demolition) work by destroying the businesses along the W. Florissant Ave. corridor, burning some stores clear to the ground!
How convenient for the St. Louis Great Streets Initiative that public donations and state and federal dollars will now pour in to redevelop and rebuild those destroyed businesses along the W. Florrisant Ave. corridor!
What a coincidence!
Now I finally understand why prosecutor Bob McCulloch, knowing full well there would be riots, scheduled his announcement of the grand jury’s decision for night-time, at 8 pm Central time. (See “Are Ferguson riots a planned event?”)