SOUTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - The Qooba Foundation plans to build a mosque in the McKinley Heights Historic Neighborhood of South City.
The site is now a mainly vacant lot at the corner of Jefferson and Allen, not far from I-44.
Some residents have complained that the location is not being maintained with pooling water and piles of debris.
The president of the Qooba Foundation Tim Kaminski said they have hit hurdles they never expected during the project.
“There were a lot of obstacles in the way, mainly from the neighborhood association and we tried to cooperate with them, and we did as much as could,” Kaminski said.
Kaminski said the most recent issue was a complaint filed that there was possible toxic material on the site because it used to be a laundry. He said they were forced to wait for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to test and wait for the results.
He said they have now been cleared and given the permission to proceed, but during the time, they waited they lost their contractor. This has delayed their progress even more.
“Now we’re waiting on bids from different contractors,” he added.
Kaminski said people also illegally dumped on their property. He said they believe the debris is coming from a nearby construction project. He said they have reported the issue to the Citizens’ Service Bureau, but it has added to the delay.
Kaminski asks that people be as patient as they have been forced to be. He said their timeline for the project is “ASAP”. He added they are required to bring the two historic buildings on the property up to code by August.
Kaminski said the Qooba Foundation has been in St. Louis for nearly two decades. They started as just one small prayer room and have now outgrown their current building which is located less than half mile away.
“This is is important for the youth of our congregation, they are mostly Somali youth and we want to be able to serve them, but we’ve expanded and we need the room,” Kaminski said.
UPDATE: June 28 at 10:00 p.m.:
The pile of debris has been removed and tests for toxins in the soil have come back negative.