St. Louis residents refuse to sell their homes for National Spy Agency

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ST. LOUIS, MO ( KTVI)- Some North St. Louis residents are  taking their  fight  to the City of St. Louis  in an effort to  keep  their homes.

One St. Louis  women  has collected thousands of  signatures  on a petition to fight an  eminent  domain project.  Charlesetta Taylor, a 79-year-old homeowner, and the Institute for Justice  delivered over 95,000 signatures to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA),  on Wednesday asking that they refuse any offer from the city of St. Louis to relocate their campus to the North Side neighborhood of St. Louis, demolishing 47 homes that have housed generations of families.

Taylor was joined by other homeowners, local supporters, and representatives of the Institute for Justice, and hand-delivering their signatures to the NGA office.

Petition on Change.org calls for the agency not to accept the city of St. Louis’ offer to build in the north side of the city, requiring the condemnation of an entire neighborhood of homes. "We will not be happy  to give up  to the  government which is by the people and for the people, to destroy that land, "said Talyor.

The high tech spy agency is currently located south of downtown St. Louis  and the city wants to make sure the  agency stays in the area. "It has 31-hundred very good paying jobs in the City of St. Louis and brings in about 2.4 million dollars every  year, " said  Maggie Crane Spokesperson for  Mayor Francis  Slay.

Charlesetta Taylor has lived in her North Side St. Louis home, nicknamed “The Big House,” for the past 70 years. Three generations of her family grew up in the house; its walls hold memories no photograph can keep. “We were the first African-American family I know on this block and several other blocks around us,”said Taylor.   “It was 1945, and there was a restrictive covenant restricting where African-Americans could live. But, nonetheless, my father was successful in buying this house for our large family.”

But her home and 46 others are being threatened with destruction, as the city of St. Louis has offered up her neighborhood for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to relocate its campus." Eminent domain is a dirty word but the city does not want to use eminent domain unless   100 percent necessary. We are going to treat everybody fair, " said Crane.

The NGA is considering three other sites, none of which would require condemning a neighborhood including one near Scott Air Force Base.

 

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