A $16 million investment is coming to the old Schnucks Plaza in Dellwood
In August 2014, after a Ferguson police officer killed Michael Brown, the area along West Florissant Avenue in Dellwood experienced protests, looting and destruction.
The situation brought national consciousness to something that residents were already well aware of: The area in north St. Louis County has long been subject to disinvestment but, in many respects, is a place of untapped potential.
Long before 2014, Pastors Ken and Beverly Jenkins had a vision to invest in the community. Their vision is getting one step closer to reality. On Tuesday morning, they’ll hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a $16 million project that seeks to revitalize the old Schnucks Plaza (officially Springwood Plaza) at 10148 W. Florissant Ave.
“Our belief is that we could have it all completely done next year and be ready to go and move in. We’ve got big faith,” said Pastor Ken Jenkins, co-pastor of Refuge and Restoration Church and chairman of the board of directors of the nonprofit organization of the same name. “We just believe God, and so we believe that we're going to get it all done seamlessly.”
R&R Marketplace will include a bank, church, early childhood center, workforce development center, health center, multiplex facility and more. Promoters say it will create 100-plus jobs within a year and 2,000 jobs within five years.
The plaza has been vacant for 18 years. It was nearly a decade ago that plans for the kind of investment coming to north St. Louis County were put in motion.
Pastor Beverly Jenkins, the CEO of the nonprofit and co-pastor of the church along with her husband, said early on she sought to identify what was missing in the community that was particularly subject to disinvestment over the years.
“We are investing so that others can see that it's worthy of the investment,” she said of what she considers a grassroots movement. “St. Louis has been really good to us. We’ve really had some really good moments and then we've had some learning moments as well. So it's been a lot, but we feel like we're on the right course.”
On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, the Jenkinses said they feel like their project is well-positioned to make an impact.
“In the Black community, the church is the initial touch point for everybody. Whether you have banking problems, marriage problems, food problems, everybody comes to the church,” Ken Jenkins said. “We get that, and so people trust us. And in our community, there's been a lot of trauma and distrust with large institutions, whether it's hospitals and banks.”
Beverly Jenkins said private equity donors have stepped up to help the project. Considering the project's $16 million total, she said there remains a gap of about $2.8 million for the first phase and about $5.7 million for the second phase.
Her husband said that the project is gaining steam and that they expect a large turnout at tomorrow’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“We hear about the unrest in Ferguson, but we never hear about the good things,” he said. “This will kind of give you a different narrative, and we talk about that a lot: the different story that will be told because of this.”
What: Groundbreaking for R&R Marketplace
When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday
Where: 10148 W. Florissant Ave., St. Louis, MO 63136
Attendees are strongly encouraged to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.