Site of burned Ferguson, Missouri, store to be Urban League center

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 09, 2015 8:07 PM

By Kenny Bahr

FERGUSON, Mo. (Reuters) - A new community center will be built on the site of a former convenience store that burned 11 months ago in rioting that followed the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

QuikTrip Corp donated the property where its store was looted and burned during community unrest after Michael Brown, 18, was fatally shot on Aug. 9 and the site became a focal point for demonstrations in the weeks and months after the shooting.

The planned center is intended to expand job training and education programs from the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and its social service partners, the Urban League said in a statement.

The Urban League, a civil rights group, hopes the facility can provide workforce training for placement for up to 500 African-Americans and other young men over the next two years, it said.

Floyd Simms, president of Simms Building Group in St. Louis, was among those who attended Thursday's groundbreaking.

"This is basically ground zero of what happened," Simms said. "For the Urban League to have its presence here, I think is going to be incredible."

(Reporting by Kenny Bahr; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Eric Beech)