North city residents fasting to fight for NGA decision

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - “Make up your mind!”  That's the message one north St. Louis man is sending to the federal government. His home may be demolished to make way for the massive National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency's future home. And now, he vows not to eat until they make a decision.

The stretch of land in north St. Louis, adjacent to the old Pruitt Igoe housing project, looks barren, but there are still homes there. One of them belongs to Gustavo Rendon.

I’m hoping God is the one to give us the strength, and hopefully He can give me the strength to go as long as I can,” said Rendon.

Strength to fast.  He won't call this a hunger strike, but he says he won't eat until NGA decides where to go, even if the answer is where he lives, displacing him and his wife, Sheila.

“It’s a disjointed thought that the city has because they’ve never considered the people who live here," said Sheila Rendon.  "Because they keep on saying it's a vacant area.”

NGA has been in St. Louis since it was founded in 1942, but has outgrown its current south city location.  The new sight would cost $1.6 billion to build and keep more than 3000 people employed after that.  They also say the long vacant Pruitt Igoe sight would be redeveloped though it is no longer part of the NGA footprint.  Instead, much of the land being used is owned by developer Paul McKee.

“This is gonna be a bailout for McKee, a bailout for Washington bank, and whoever else he owes.”

These are the holdouts, hoping to draw attention and support.

Earlier this month, the city of St. Louis told FOX 2 that Rendon is among only three property owners out of hundreds who hadn't reached some sort of agreement to sell.  They say they're still willing to negotiate rather than enforce eminent domain.

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