In the early morning on Monday, February 1st the LRA arrived to oversee the removal of the signage from a lot owned by Paul McKee. They were met at the corner of 23rd and Mullanphy by residents of North St. Louis City, defending the vacant corner lot. On the lot stood a 6x6 feet sign, which had been in place since early December.
This lot was the former site of St. Leo’s Catholic Church for nearly 100 years until 1978. This parish and its Father were instrumental in putting black families into homes in the area during white flight from North City.
That morning the LRA representatives attempted to compromise, asking that the portion of the sign calling for NO NGA and NO EMINENT DOMAIN be removed from the larger sign. The residents did not comply.
The residents had heard word about and then organized around Congressman Lacy Clay's scheduled tour of the neighborhood with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressman Schiff will have input in the decision for the location of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s relocation. This lot is part of a broader footprint that is one of four proposed for the agency’s relocation from its south city location. It is the only site out of the four that is currently residential.
The four proposed NGA footprints. Residents at Monday's action live within the bottom left footprint.
We should continue to support folks in the area who are standing up to manipulation by public officials who are meant to protect and defend them.
The city and Mayor Slay’s narrative says that a majority of people in this footprint have signed deals to sell their homes. They want it to sound as if people want to leave and that they support the push for the NGA to relocate, taking over this land.
This narrative is simply untrue for many residents. People’s hands are being forced through the threat and use of eminent domain. We must push the city to use more inclusive development practices and stop pushing out people who have maintained communities even when the city continues to fail them time and time again.
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Clay hosts tour of NGA site; two protesters arrested, St. Louis Public Radio