ST. LOUIS – After FOX 2 exposed the years-long unaddressed dangers at an industrial site near a park in St. Louis’ historic Baden neighborhood, things are suddenly changing. 

Nobody saw it coming during the first report about the site near Dickman Park about four months ago. The former site of a detergent plant and later a low-cost furniture charity had become known for massive fires, gunfire, and illegal dumping. 

Now, for the first time in more than a decade, it feels like maybe it may be known for something good. 

“No, I did not see this demo coming at all,” Tashara Earl, Revitalization of Baden Association president, said.

We first talked to her about the site in January, where we discovered the history of illegal dumping and gunfire. There had been a massive fire weeks earlier. 

“Just multiple gunshots we would hear every night,” Earl said. “Residents that stay one block over would constantly hear shooting at the building.”

About a month later, things appeared to go from bad, to worse.

Cicadas reaching higher decibel levels than MetroLink, trucks, and more

There was an attempted break-in next door at the Griesedieck Brothers Brewery, a historic St. Louis beermaker. Internal emails showed the City of St. Louis Building Division had recommended “emergency demolition,” citing “a major fire and biohazard.” But no action was taken.

That just changed. 

The city is covering demolition costs of roughly $100,000 from its Building Demolition Fund and billing the property owner under abandoned/hazardous property law.

“This had been an abandoned property for years in the community,” Building Inspector John Watson said. “Now, with it being down, something great can be created.”

“We have the park across the street from it. We would love to see that incorporated into the green space,” Earl said. “I would say the possibilities are endless. We want the community to get involved to re-imagine what we can do with this land.”

It’s a big change from neighborhood leaders fearing the brewery would be forced to move because of all of the problems next door.

“A commitment from the city like this saying, ‘Oh, we actually do want business to stay,’ even in a less talked about neighborhood like Baden, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Bob Griesedieck of Griesedieck Brothers said.

An extension of Dickman Park, featuring a new skate park at the site, is one idea now gaining traction.