ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– The History Museum released environmental reports Friday that show land purchased from a former St. Louis mayor is contaminated with dry cleaning compounds.
It’s not at all uncommon for city land to contain some contaminants after generations of use.
This was the site of Big Jakes Bar-b-que and before that McDonalds and earlier a dry cleaners.
The Missouri Historical Society, headquarter in Forest Park, paid $875,000 for the Delmar land hoping to build a community history center there. But museum leaders changed their minds. Now it is at the heart of a controversy over how the tax supported cultural institution is operated.
Environmental reports released today show the museum knew before it closed on the Delmar property that it contained toxic metals including arsenic, chromium and lead.
But that information was never discussed publically or identified in a request for bids to demolish the restaurant.
The History Museum bought the land at the height of the real estate market in 2006 from former St. Louis city Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr. A spokesman says the trustees thought the property was worth the price and the cost of the cleanup.
Now museum officials hope to sell the property when the real estate market improves.
The umbrella zoo museum district board is reviewing the situation and may take action later this month.