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.