St. Louis – Officials on both sides of the Mississippi River now are waiting for the site selection process to play itself out to locate the new western states base for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
The satellite-spying agency plans to build a vast new facility in the St. Louis area to replace its current home at the old St. Louis Arsenal south of downtown, shifting 3,000 well-paid employees and creating several hundred construction jobs in the process.
Most Missouri officials support a proposed location of 100 acres in the city of St. Louis bordered by Cass Avenue on the south and Jefferson Avenue on the west.
See previous story: Meetings on Geospatial location draw big crowds
It’s the largest site the city can pull together, but it’s only about 70 percent clear, with residents, businesses and churches needing to be relocated.
City officials, though, are concerned about losing $2.9 million a year in local income tax now paid by the NGA employees.
Illinois officials are stumping for a relatively clean and clear site of 182 acres in St. Clair County adjacent to Scott Air Force Base. The county would provide the land for no charge.
In addition, two St. Louis County sites are being considered – the former Chrysler plant in Fenton and the current Met Life site in Mehlville. St. Louis County government, however, is backing the city site.
A public comment period runs through Nov. 23, during which residents with an opinion may use mail, email or a website to express them. The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting the site study for the NGA.
Plans are for a tentative choice to be announced in March and a final decision made in April.
Three public meetings were held the last week of October to present findings and solicit opinions. At those meetings, the Corps posted information on each site, including a current list of the site needs to be considered in making the decision.
The items on that list, printed verbatim, are as follows:
- Allow for continuity and resiliency for existing and future NGA operations.
- Provide purpose-built facilities that are safe, secure, flexible and efficient.
- Be conducive to recruiting and retaining top-quality employees.
- Stay within anticipated funding limits for construction, operation and maintenance.
- Support future changes to mission requirements.
- Provide necessary utilities, telecommunications and transportation infrastructure.
- Contain a boundary that is a usable shape for necessary buildings and infrastructure, and outside of a 100-year floodplain.
- Provide physical security and force protection with appropriate setbacks from adjacent roads, railroads and property boundaries.
- Provide potential to use topography and landscape to enhance security.
- Be available for acquisition and construction in early 2017.
- Meet or exceed current building standards and codes, particularly those related to the design, detailing and construction of structural and non-structural components, to resist natural or human-made events.
HOW TO COMMENT
Those who wish to comment may go online to nextNGAwest.com and choose the “comment” option to either comment directly or print a comment form that can be mailed.
Comments can be sent by email to nextNGAwest@usace.army.mil or mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, attn. Amy Blair, Room 529, 601 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO, 64106.
Please include your identification, any group you may represent and an email address if possible.