Pastor plans to bring businesses, hope to Russell area residents
New resources are coming to the Russell Neighborhood. A plaza is set to open next year and it's thanks to one woman's vision to provide renewed hope to the area.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- New resources are coming to the Russell Neighborhood. A plaza is set to open next year and it's thanks to one woman's vision to provide renewed hope to the area.
Jamesetta Ferguson calls Louisville's west end home. "I am rooted and grounded in the Russell area," Ferguson said.
It's also a place where she said poverty magnifies the bad. "That seems to be what is remembered most about the west end and the Russell community, but there's so much good here. There's so many people here that are doing it the right way. There are many people here who have a desire to have more but do not have the opportunity," Ferguson said.
A woman of faith all of her life, she began at St. Peters United Church of Christ in 2006. "When I became pastor of the church, the biggest expectation of many of the people here is of many of them to fail," Ferguson said.
It was a mission trip to South Africa where a woman she helped warmly greeted her with the word, molo. "Later I found out that that meant welcome home mama and that's something that stuck with me and actually when we came back, we decided that we needed to do mission in a different way, we needed to do ministry in a different way," Ferguson said.
Her area needed resources. Roughly all 9,000 Russell residents rely on one dollar store. "Why should we in this area lack the amenities that everyone else has?"
Ferguson is leading the way to change that. "In 2011, we started the CDC and the name was Molo Village."
The Village at West Jefferson Street will go near 13th Street and includes 30,000 square feet. Two restaurants, one of which will help those incarcerated transition back into the community, an insurance company, Louisville Metro Housing, a mental health specialist and a fitness and tutoring facility have signed pre-leases. An office for Molo Village and a place for urban strategies will also go into the plaza.
"This is the first time I've actually seen this here, but I think it would actually probably bring the community together a little bit better, to get this village up and running. I think it would bring a little bit more peace here," Kristopher Williams said.
Money from the sale of the property will be used to renovate the church. Once that happens, St. Peters United Church of Christ will relocate back to its historic site where it's been for about 170 years.
The church, city, local investors and grant money make up the partnership.
"You can only be stepped on for so long," Ferguson said.
It's been a long road when Ferguson looks back. "You want everyone to receive hope and to be encouraged that they can become better and it takes all of us. We are the village," Ferguson said.
Finally, a little light and some excitement have arrived for the thousands of residents to keep money and growth in the area.
The Village at West Jefferson Street is expected to be completed by December of 2019.
Copyright 2018. WDRB News. All rights reserved.