IBJ Staff Report
O’FALLON – With time winding down before a government decision, a key meeting will take place this month in which major players will have the opportunity to promote Metro East as site for the relocation of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public meeting regarding the relocation of the NGA Western Headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Katy Cavins Community Center, 308 E. Fifth St. The event is 4 to 7 p.m.
“Relocation of the NGA’s Western Headquarters to the site near Scott Air Force Base would be tremendous for O’Fallon, the St. Louis Metro East region, and the State of Illinois,” O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham said in a recent note to the community. “I encourage everyone to attend the public meeting and support the relocation of the NGA to the St. Louis Metro East.”
The St. Clair County site is on 200 acres near MidAmerica Airport, adjacent to Scott Air Force Base, near Interstate 64. The land is already owned by St. Clair County, which is poised to give it to the federal agency for free.
Over the past nine months, the Next NGA West project team has been studying the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of a proposed NGA location at each of four proposed sites. The findings from this study, called a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, will be published Oct. 8 and will be presented at a series of public meetings starting the week of Oct. 26. During the public meetings, members of the community will also have an opportunity to comment on the impact statement. The public comment period will be open from Oct. 9 until Nov. 23.
The NGA started with six possible locations to replace its existing Western Headquarters in St. Louis, but narrowed it to four after initial reviews:
- Fenton (the site of the old Chrysler plant along Interstate 44)
- Mehlville (at the Met Life facility on Tesson Ferry Road, between Interstate 270 and Highway 141)
- North St. Louis (the site of the old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex near Cass and Jefferson avenues)
- St. Clair County (site adjacent to Scott Air Force Base along Interstate 64)
A decision by NGA is due in early 2016.
Graham said the related construction project could top $1.6 billion.
“A construction project of that magnitude will generate thousands of construction jobs,” he said.
The high-tech spy agency is located south of downtown St. Louis near the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. The agency,
which employs 3,000 people at the St. Louis City location, says its current complex, which dates back to before the U.S. Civil War, was outdated and needed to be replaced. A secondary location in Arnold will not be relocated.
The NGA delivers geospatial intelligence that aims to provide an advantage advantage to warfighters, policymakers, intelligence professionals and first responders.