North City farm next to Sk8 Liborius working to rebuild after fire damaged it
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - It’s been six days since fire crews battled a 4-alarm fire that tore through the former St. Liborius Church, turned skate park.
Right behind the Sk8 Liborius indoor park is a local farm that farmer Antajuan Adams has spent more than a decade working at.
“I watched it,” Adams says. “A sight to see. I grew up in this neighborhood. I’ve been knowing about that church since I was born. As long as I can remember.”
Adams is trying to pick up the pieces.
“We work with folks of all ages, all genders, all types,” Adams says. “I really hang myself on being a hub to create community for all types of people.”
New Roots Urban Farm has been in North City for the last 20 years. Adams says it teaches people of color and people with low income how to grow their own food.
“As a person who grew up and was raised in this neighborhood for 41 years, I know that a big issue or environmental justice issues that happen to these black and brown low-income folks around nutrition,” Adams says.
As firefighters worked to put out the fire at Sk8 Liborius, water flooded the farm.
Adams says the flood killed chickens they were raising, and toxins from the fire and embers hurt the plants.
“I just don’t know if the food is safe for human consumption right now,” Adams says. “We’re gonna go through some soil samples and testing to see what’s actually in the soil.”
At Sk8 Liborius, clean-up has been underway since the fire.
Admin director Anneka Shaw says crews of volunteers have been boarding up doors and windows and getting rid of rubble.
“What I don’t want is for this to become another ghost of North St. Louis,” Shaw says. “North St. Louis has always needed extra help, redevelopment and this right here is a great loss to the community.”
Shaw says this isn’t the end of Sk8 Liborius.
With the support of St. Louis behind them, Shaw says they plan to come back stronger than ever.
“We’ve become even more motivated and excited for the future,” Shaw says. “We are determined to create something new, maybe better. Something different.”
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