Washington Post- When Starbucks opened here in 2016, politicians celebrated, predicting that the coffee chain would revitalize a city marred by violent protests over Michael Brown’s killing two years earlier.
Other corporations jumped in with multimillion-dollar commitments to help rebuild the majority-black town that became a global symbol of racial and economic inequality.
But four years after the unrest, nearly all of the new development is concentrated in the more prosperous — and whiter — parts of town, bypassing the predominantly black southeast neighborhood where Brown was fatally shot by a police officer while walking to his grandmother’s home.
The investments, rather than easing the economic gap, have deepened that divide.
“This is the forgotten Ferguson,” said Francesca Griffin, a St. Louis native who moved to the inner-ring suburb 13 years ago for the more-affordable home prices. “Time and time again, West Florissant Avenue just gets left out. And people are losing hope.”
The growing disparity is the result of decisions, large and small, that capture the difficulties of overcoming a legacy of racial segregation, economic exclusion and political disenfranchisement.
In Ferguson’s case, obstacles have included a corporate mind-set willing to take on only so much risk, a seeming lack of political will and a disadvantaged community’s inability to promote its own interests.
Of the more than $36 million in bricks-and-mortar development that poured into the city after 2014, only $2.4 million — for a job training center — has directly benefited this isolated pocket of Ferguson, according to an analysis of building-permit data provided by the city.