Location near Scott AFB had been targeted in failed NGA effort
By RANDY PIERCE, email@example.com
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern announced Monday that a site proposed five years ago for the new west headquarters of the National Geospatial Agency has now been submitted for consideration as a location for the United States Space Command center.
The announcement follows a series of discussions and meetings held recently that involved Kern and United States Congressman Mike Bost, United States Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, the office of Illinois Lieutenant Gov. Juliana Stratton and numerous local elected officials.
“After careful review of the screening and evaluation criteria, we believe our community meets all the minimum eligibility requirements,” Kern said in a brief statement, “and would earn a competitive score when assessed against the evaluation criteria.”
A letter from Kern nominating the site has been send to the office of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker for this endorsement.
The local site being promoted for the space center is located near MidAmerica St. Louis Airport and Scott Air Force Base with easy access to it off Interstate 64. The NGA considered it back in 2016 but instead selected a location in northeast St. Louis that is currently being developed.
The NGA spent several months weighing the advantages of each site after having outgrown its location in near south St. Louis city nor far from the easternmost end of Arsenal Street along the Mississippi River.
The headquarters would carry with it 1,400 jobs, according to news reports. A decision is supposed to be made on a site by the U.S. Air Force by the end of 2020.
Founded in 1985, the United States Space Command is a unified combatant command of the U.S. Department of Defense, responsible for military operations in outer space, specifically all operations above 100 kilometers above mean sea level.
The headquarters for the space command is what would be located at the St. Clair County site. The agency currently has training operations facilities at United States Air Force Base locations in Colorado.
The county is not without competition in this endeavor as others seeking the space command headquarters include locations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Texas and Wyoming. The command is currently based on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.