FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) – There’s reason for optimism on the third anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown – at least according to the mayor of Ferguson.

Protests ensued for months after August 9, 2014, until a grand jury in November declined to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, when several blocks of North County burned.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says it’s been a long three years since, focused on repairing what was damaged.

“I say that now just physically but emotionally, the relationships that were strained in the community, between law enforcement in this community, between the government and the community, between the community as a whole,” he says.

Knowles says there are marches and a prayer service planned, but he does not expect a repeat of three years ago.

He says if people go to see Ferguson for themselves on this anniversary, what they see will likely surprise them.

“The community is much more vibrant than they expect, the people are not what they expect, the way they’re greeted and dealt with, and the sense of community that they see when they come here is not what people expect,” Knowles says.

He says he loves to see diversity at the city’s events, like farmers markets and a concert series.

Knowles says priority one is getting the city 100 percent compliant with the federal consent decree, which required changes in Ferguson’s police and courts. Once the city has been compliant for two years, Knowles says they won’t have to have a federal monitor anymore, saving Ferguson $300,000 a year.

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