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Sunday Poll: Should the City of St. Louis use eminent domain powers to assemble a site if the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency selects the city option?

February 22, 2015 Eminent Domain, Featured, North City, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll 10 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Today’s Sunday Poll is about a tough call between residents and jobs:

Last week, the Board of Alderman approved the use of eminent domain to move people out of a 100-acre site that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is considering for relocation. Now, officials are saying that property owners will have an option to stay in their homes and businesses if the NGA chooses another location.

The area, just north of the former Pruitt-Igoe site, is one of four under consideration in the region by the federal agency, which is now located south of downtown. The city is eager to keep the NGA, along with its 3,100 employees and $2.4 million in earnings taxes each year. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Glad it was clarified they could stay if the NGA selects another site, but check the fine print from St. Louis Development director Otis Williams:

Williams’ comments are merely a promise. The bill doesn’t have language mandating that homeowners can stay if the land isn’t used.

“We will not demo before we have a decision,” Williams said. 

Still, Williams said there “may be a few properties” that the city will exercise rights on anyway.  

The purchases will come at a hefty price. The city has allocated $8-10 million for residential property purchases, if the government chooses the city location. But several businesses, including Faultless Healthcare Linen, would cost an additional $10 to $15 million to move. 

Faultless reportedly spent $12 million in 2012 to expand at the location. The city provided real estate and property tax abatement for the property.  (Post-Dispatch)

So there you go, today’s question is Should the City of St. Louis use eminent domain powers to assemble a site if the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency selects the city option?

The poll is in the right sidebar, it closes in 12 hours (8pm)

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Easy call on eminent domain – yes! – much tougher call on the viability of the site – unfortunately, a “safer” suburban location may be more attractive than an urban one to the people making the decisions.

  2. guest says:

    Yes. But the broader question is how should the city deal with legacy abandonment and decay in some parts of town? The fact is, it costs more to serve these areas than they return in tax revenue. Basically, city taxpayers are subsidizing the maintenance of these abandoned/decayed areas and the few residents still living there. A condition like that is unsustainable and like a cancer that spreads and kills neighboring areas.

    • JZ71 says:

      A better definition of the problem, but few “answers”: http://cityobservatory.org/lost-in-place/ . Neighborhoods with chronic poverty are “a tough nut to crack” – do you continue to throw resources at them? When/will they ever get “better”? And, are their current residents willing to be displaced? To be “helped” to improve their futures? Or are they happy with just handouts? If they’re displaced, will their movement create/accelerate “decline” in whatever area they’re displaced to? In an ideal world, there would be no poverty; in the real world, there always will be. The only question is do we concentrate it? Or, do we try to hide it by either running away from it or by trying to “blend” it into more prosperous areas?

      • guest says:

        And in the midst of the people-based discussion, a certain group of people will go on about how eminently rehabbable all of these historic buildings are. It’s an endless cycle. The preservationists look at these issues as a shiny object, distracted from the fact that if we want preservation in St. Louis, we need to focus on strengths and intact areas rather than these extreme cases of blight. Quick! While your attention is focused on the possible demolitions in the St. Louis Place area (in an effort to save 3,000 jobs in the city), Hyde Park is melting into the ground, or “xyz” other neighborhood is in freefall abandonment. It should be noted in the case of the Geo spatial plan, the local alderman is 110% in support of the proposal, having witnessed firsthand the 50 year downward slide of the area.

  3. matimal says:

    Sunday Poll: Should a newspaper be polling its readers on the policies of a city which 90 percent of its readers do not live in?

    • Not sure I understand your comment. The bulk of the readers here not only live in the St. Louis region, they live in the City of St. Louis.

      • matimal says:

        This poll is about the actions of the city of St. Louis. The opinion of non-residents of the city of St. Louis is legally irrelevant. That’s not my opinion, that’s the law. There are 318,400 residents of St. Louis city and 2,800,000 in the Metropolitan Statistical Area of St. Louis. That means that

      • uspsmom94 says:

        NO eminent domain! My mother-in-law lives in Ward 3 and is directly affected. She has been at her house for over 30 years….this is devastating for her at the age of 86. (NOTE: she is a reader/subscriber of the STL P-D). Readers who are on the ‘outside, looking in’ obviously could care less about what will happen to the residents in Wards 3/5, based on the comments posted here. I wonder if their opinions would change if it was their Mom or Dad…


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