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Secretive Federal Agency Seeks Public Comments On Where It Should Move

If you’ve got an opinion on where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency should move, or shouldn’t move, now is the time to speak up.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street, the current headquarters for NGA West.
Credit (courtesy NGA) / National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NGA
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NGA
An aerial view of the current National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency location at 3200 South 2nd St.

The secretive federal agency is looking at four sites around the St. Louis metropolitan area as it plans a move from its current historic campus south of downtown. A public comment period began this week and will run until January 19, including three public hearings.

The first public hearing was held at the St. Louis Gateway Classic Foundation on Tuesday evening. The next will be held from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at the Katy Cavins Community Center in O’Fallon, Ill. Another will take place from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Crestwood Community Center in Crestwood, Mo.

Only one of the four sites is in the city of St. Louis. NGA spokeswoman Julia Collins said after more than 60 years in St. Louis it was important to have an option to stay.

"Whether or not we end up actually staying in the city has yet to be determined," she said. "We’re treating each of these sites equally, gathering all the information we can. Something that’s really important to that is the public’s input. We really want to hear what the local residents say about our plan."

The possible sites:

  • St. Louis: 135 acres, including the former Pruitt-Igoe housing site near the intersections of Cass and North Jefferson avenues. Cass Avenue would remain intact or be rerouted.
  • Fenton: 222 acres at the former Chrysler plant, now owned byKPDevelopment.
  • Mehlville: 101 acres at the former MetLife/Sigma campus along Tesson Ferry Road.
  • St. Clair County:  182 acres of land just northeast of Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is beginning work on assessing each site for an Environmental Impact Statement. A draft of that study is expected to be completed in August 2015. Corps project manager Bryan Smith said the public comments will help steer what they study.
"We’ll look at the economic impacts, we’ll look at commutes, we’ll look at traffic impacts, we’ll look at noise impacts, we’ll look at several different types of impacts, both positive and negative, for each of the four sites," he said.

Another public comment period will take place in the fall of next year and the NGA is expected to make a decision in spring of 2016.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.