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Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones Outlines Plan To Boost The City's Economy

Ella Jones was elected as Ferguson's first African-American mayor on June 2, 2020.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum
St. Louis Public Radio
Ferguson's newly elected Mayor Ella Jones established an economic development plan Thursday night during a virtual town hall.

Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones has decided to make revitalizing the city through economic development a priority of her administration.

During a virtual town hall on Thursday, Jones said she plans to focus on creating jobs, helping businesses and rebuilding city neighborhoods.

“To do this I would need the help of the region, so I can identify some key partners to help with the initiative,” Jones said.

To support her plan, Jones has formed the Mayor's Community Task Force, a group of appointed community leaders and residents.

Ferguson voters elected Jones as the city’s first female mayor in June. Since then, she said she has been working on a plan she hopes will serve as a blueprint for action to rebuild resiliency in Ferguson.

She said the task force will focus on bridging the economic divides between communities, improving neighborhoods and advocating for fair housing.

Jones said her first 90 days in office have been rewarding and challenging.

“Rewarding in a sense to have the opportunity to serve such a diverse and wonderful city and to be a contributor to improve the city and meeting the city of Ferguson's needs,” Jones said. “Challenging in a sense of identifying strategies and effective ways to address the needs of the community.”

Before taking the oath as mayor, Jones became the first African American elected to City Council in 2015. During her time on the council she helped work on the consent decree between Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit. It established a framework to change the city’s police department and courts.

Jones has pledged to establish a neighborhood stabilization plan by working with nonprofits to create a homeownership pipeline program and to help senior citizens repair their homes.

She wants to help small businesses by connecting them with nonprofits that can help them survive the economic downturn during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones also pledged to improve communication between city officials and residents.

“It becomes very important for us to talk to one another,” Jones said. “It becomes very important for us to realize that this is our city, and if we don’t do anything about it then no one else is going to do something for our city.”

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.