Two Cents Worth – Nov 4, 2015

In the past I’ve written about how there are a lot of positive things taking place in O’Fallon and Shiloh. This past week a meeting took place at the Katy Cavins Center to discuss one possible project that would be a major benefit to the area.

Over 200 people attended a meeting put on by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the possible re-location of the NGA facility currently located near the brewery in St. Louis. More than 3,000 people currently work at the St. Louis NGA facility and they could all be commuting to St. Clair County if the county is selected to be the NGA’s new home.  Not only would this project result in a large number of construction jobs while the facility is built, but it would also impact the local economies of O’Fallon, Shiloh, Lebanon, and Mascoutah in extremely positive ways over time.

St. Clair County is one of four sites being considered, with the other three being located in Missouri. On paper, we are far and away the most logical choice for the NGA.

We’re literally giving them the land to build on whereas they would have to purchase the land in Missouri. We’re locating them right next door to Scott Air Force Base, who they work very closely with and have to run some information cables from to their new facility. It would only make sense to have to run a cable 400 yards than across the Mississippi River.

Additionally, the NGA could begin construction immediately at the St. Clair County site, whereas at the other sites they would have to do some demolition or environmental cleanup. They also have to deal with current residents who don’t want to move and historic buildings that have to be addressed by the Missouri State Historical Society.

St. Clair County offers the best price, the best location, and the most convenience out of all of the sites under consideration.  So let’s tell the NGA that this choice isn’t really that hard of a choice at all.

Through November 23, the NGA is requesting public input on the site selection. Let’s flood them with letters supporting St. Clair County and its efforts.  This is a project that will be great for everyone and we should all take an active role in pushing it along.

Ways to provide comments:

• Submit comments online at http://nextngawest.com/site/index.php/comment.

• Email comments to nextNGAwest@usace.army.mil using the form at http://www.nextngawest.com/site/DEIS/NGA_DEIS_CommentForm.pdf.

• Mail comments to: United States Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Attn: Amy Blair, Room 529, 601 E. 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106 using the form at http://www.nextngawest.com/site/DEIS/NGA_DEIS_CommentForm.pdf.

The meeting last Wednesday was the second of three the NGA and Army Corps of Engineers held.  The night before, they held the same kind of informational meeting near the Mehlville site.  I was told by a representative of the Army Corps that only 40 people attended that meeting. St. Clair County had over 200. While that may not be a deciding factor, you can’t tell me it doesn’t register on someone’s radar to indicate how supportive the community is of the project.

While we can’t all fit in the Katy Cavins building, we can all write a letter.