REALPOLITIK: Ground Zero of Ferguson riots was slated for redevelopment 2 years ago

Source – fellowshipoftheminds.com

– On the night of November 24, 2014, St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown, was followed — predictably — by rioting, looting, and burning in Ferguson and environs.

Note: Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, and part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. To the east of Ferguson are Dellwood and north St. Louis. Blacks comprise the majority of the population in the area:

Ferguson St. Louis map

Altogether, more than a dozen to 25 businesses suffered losses. (For a list of the businesses, click here.)

Here are the before and after images of some of the businesses that were burnt to the ground (for more images, see “Ferguson: Before and After the Riots“):

Advance Auto Parts and Fashion R on West Florissant Avenue just south of Chambers Road

TitleMax Title Loans on W. Florissant Ave.

Little Caesars on N. Florissant Rd

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.

florrisant-ave-map

Ferguson riots businesses destroyed

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 before Officer 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.

Here’s a description of the initiative from the City of Dellwood’s website:

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.

St. Louis Great Streets Initiative

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?”)

Now I finally understand why Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, although he had already called up the National Guard a week before, held back those same National Guard troops on the night of Nov. 24, in effect giving free rein to those rioters, looters, and arsonists. Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has accused Nixon of holding back the troops because of pressure from the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Now I finally understand why firefighters in Ferguson did not immediately respond to calls to put out the multiple fires that burned so many businesses to the ground on the night of Nov. 24.

Now I finally “get it” about those paramilitary men recorded on video throwing a flashbang grenade into a car next to Advance Auto Parts — one of the businesses that were burned completely down to the ground. (See “Devil’s Night in Ferguson: paramilitary men set car on fire,)

Paramilitary men in Ferguson riot, Nov. 24, 2014Update (Dec. 4, 2014):

KMOV St. Louis reports, Dec. 2, 2014, that some of the businesses that were damaged during the Nov. 24 riots have set up “Go Fund Me” accounts soliciting the public’s donation. I suggest they ask the Saint Louis Great Streets Initiative for help. Go to http://www.WestFlorissantAve.com.

http://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2014/12/03/what-a-coincidence-ground-zero-of-ferguson-riots-was-slated-for-redevelopment-2-years-ago/

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