ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - An attempt by protesters to get the attention of a congressional tour of the proposed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site in North St. Louis met with some opposition of its own Monday.
U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay and developer Paul McKee played tour guide to U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees the NGA, and will have some input in the final decision.
But a few hours before the tour, witnesses say McKee had come to property he owns at 23rd Street and Mullanphy Street, where protesters had put up an anti-NGA sign.
They hoped to show the visiting congressman not everyone is happy with the plan because it involves eminent domain.
'We don`t want to go, we love our community, we want our community to grow back up and we want politicians to stop trying to kill our community,' said Gustavo Rendon, who owns a home in the footprint of the proposed NGA site.
At one point workers came and took down the sign, but then a deal was worked out to leave it if it was moved to the sidewalk. It is unclear who that crew works for but a spokesperson for Mayor Francis Slay says no city workers were involved.
Witnesses say McKee told police to arrest two protesters who refused to move off his property, and eventually they did.
The men were charged with trespassing.
The bus tour, which lasted about 30 minutes, weaved through city streets in the mostly vacant neighborhood.
The visiting congressman from California had encouraging words about the city`s chances of keeping the NGA, currently located in South St. Louis.
'They will be looking at the impact on the area," Schiff said. "For the NGA to move out the city is a net revenue loss for the city and that is going to be an important factor that would offset the simplicity of moving to a baron field somewhere,' he said.
Otis Williams, the Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Agency says out of 551 properties in the NGA footprint, only three homeowners have yet to come to any sort of agreement with the city.
'We are prepared to still have the conversation with them and I think you will find almost unanimously that we have been very fair, we are providing very generous offers and that we would like to work with everyone,' Williams said.