Metro-East News

Here’s how to submit comments to NGA on its site choice

News-Democrat

Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Want to submit a comment to the federal government on the preliminary choice to build the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new headquarters in St. Louis rather than St. Clair County?

There’s a comment period that’s open now. Comments can be submitted online at nextngawest.com/

site/index.php/comment.

Robert Cardillo, the director of the NGA, announced Thursday that a site in north St. Louis is the preferred location for the agency’s new $1.6 billion western headquarters.

Cardillo will make a final, official decision in late May or early June.

The public can submit “additional substantive comments” on the preliminary choice of the St. Louis site until April 16.

A notice from NGA states that “substantive comments, previously unknown, will be considered in making a final site selection determination.”

Officials in Illinois and St. Clair County are vowing to continue pushing for the NGA to select a proposed site next to Scott Air Force Base.

Debbie Arell-Martinez, director of the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce, encouraged metro-east residents to submit comments.

“We have now entered the public comment period — don’t let this go by without making a statement,” Arell-Martinez wrote in an email to chamber members. “Who knows — the comments you make could make an impact on the final decision. Having NGA in St. Clair County would make a positive economic impact on our area — we can’t afford to sit back and wait to see what happens.”

Readers’ opinions

Here’s a sampling of what commenters on the BND Facebook page had to say:

▪  “Read it and I’m calling bullshit for the reasons.” — Sheldon Pup Schulte

▪  “So in other words, SCC never stood a chance...” — George Fender

▪  “Points in the article are correct. Why don't we just kill off all wildlife; then see how long humans live. Protection of wildlife is the most important thing to humans living.” — Patrick S. Phillips

▪  “Got a lot of people in North St. Louis who can qualify for a Top Secret Clearance with special access? Thinking not.” — Scott Feist

▪  “Nope, it will be people commuting and they'll need a well-lit parking lot with armed guards.” — Gayle Feist

▪  “Political decision ... St. Clair County made the most sense. Disappointing as I was looking for the job market increase in SCC. No desire to work in North STL. I don't think this decision makes the most sense for the agency, but rather the politics.” — Jennifer Lynn

▪  “I doubt that any additional comments will help. The St. Louis site wasn't chosen on its merits, but rather it was a political decision to shovel even more federal money into another rundown urban environment with the hope that this time it will help. I also have to wonder if the decision was made based on the fact that Illinois has a Republican governor while Missouri has a Democratic governor.” — Daniel Johnson

▪  “St. Louis is trying to fix something that has been broken for years. A messed up, blighted, crime-ridden area that is going to need a lot more than plopping a billion+dollar complex into the middle of this wasteland. Lipstick on a pig but still a pig and will be for many years.” — Mark Luechtefeld

▪  “I am tired of hearing from STL, how backward our region of southern Illinois is. They make it sound like we are living in tents without the benefit of modern-day essentials. Good luck to north STL, lots of work to be done.” — June Benedick

▪  “‘Reduction of weed species.’ Are you kidding me?” — Dana Murphy

▪  “It said the Corps’ report notes that the north St. Louis site is in a federal Promise Zone. The Obama administration’s Promise Zone initiative aims to help low-income areas — primarily inner-city locations. Promise Zones receive priority access to federal investments. So Illinois had no chance of getting this project then. There is NO one in north St. Louis that will benefit or be hired by this project.” — Scott Alan

▪  “LOL. Even our own fed government doesn't want to do business in Illinois. It's no wonder that business, and people, are leaving our state in record numbers. Tricky Dick Durbin fails us again. Yet, we keep electing him.” — Randy Alderman

▪  “That makes no sense at all. They are passing up free land, immediate access to an under-used airport, the security of an adjacent air base, etc. but the state of our government here is killing opportunities.” — Judy Schneck

▪  “So they are going to kick people out of the homes they own, so they can build this. They will put a big fence around it and then at the end of the day all employees will go home, and I will bet it won't be in the neighborhood. Or it just might, knock down homes and put in apartments, etc. that the locals (who will not be working there) cannot afford. — Debi Krueger Hart

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