Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

FERGUSON, Mo. (IKMOX) – It was once Ground Zero for the riots that shook Ferguson to its core following the death of Michael Brown in 2014.

Now the space at 9420 West Florissant where a burned-out Quik Trip once stood is seen as a symbol of hope and opportunity.

“(Ferguson) residents have really tried to change the narrative of that area,” according to Rayna Spencer with Urban Strategies, part of the Southeast Ferguson Community Association. “And this is one way to kind of turn the tide, and in the same breath show that Christmas cheer and provide supportive services.”

ferguson 300x239 Ferguson Empowerment Center To Host Holiday Party

Groundbreaking begins on Ferguson Community Empowerment Center (phto: salvationarmy.org)

They’re expecting a healthy turnout for a celebration that will include food, gifts, games and a visit from Santa.

“We have targeted the apartment complexes and the houses in close proximity, as well as the students and families of Koch Elementary,” Spencer pointed out. “So all in all we’ve reached out to about fifteen-hundred households.”

The Southeast Ferguson Community Association says the new center is designed to promote the “thoughts, wishes and ideas” of all area residents.

The party at the newly-opened Ferguson Community Empowerment Center (9420 W. Florissant) runs from 6 until 7:30 pm, and is free and open to the public.

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