On August 7, 2012, City of Ferguson voters approved a $0.35 property tax levy increase to provide the funds necessary to renovate the recently-purchased Blessed Teresa of Calcutta church and school, 1050 Smith Avenue, for a community center.
On August 7, 2012, City of Ferguson voters approved a $0.35 property tax levy increase designed to provide the funds necessary to renovate the recently-purchased Blessed Teresa of Calcutta church and school at 1050 Smith Avenue for the purpose of a community center. The City purchased 1050 Smith Avenue from the Archdiocese of St. Louis in June 2012 for $1.5 million. The Smith Avenue site was the former Good Shepherd Parish which was consolidated with several other area churches to form Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in 2005.
The City has been working on plans for the renovation of the former school and church buildings which are situated on the 10-acre property. The former school building will be converted to a community center facility offering much needed amenities such as a senior center, multi-purpose rooms, and a fitness center. The former church building will be converted to a performance arts auditorium. The renovations are expected to begin in the Spring of 2013 with construction scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2014. Renovations are expected to cost $3.5 million.
The City has been searching for an adequate site for a community center since 2007 when the January-Wabash building was demolished. The building had served as a pseudo community center for a number of years providing meeting space, multi-purpose rooms, and hosting fitness classes. The City Council in office at the time of the building demolition promised the residents the City would work to find a suitable replacement for the January-Wabash Building. Current Mayor James W. Knowles III expressed the need for a community center stating, “Ferguson has a very proud of tradition of volunteer service. Many of community groups rely on the generosity of local churches and businesses to provide meeting and storage space on a monthly basis. They deserve to have a permanent place they can call home.”
Thanks to the Ferguson voters, Proposition C was passed with 60% approval. Mayor Knowles highlighted the significance of the vote by saying, “In these uncertain economic times, it is so special that Ferguson voters felt so strongly that the City needed a community center that they voted for Proposition C just a year after voting to approve the issuance of $8 million in bonds for the construction of a new Fire House 1. It shows what a strong commitment our residents have to our community.”