As the mayor of the city of Belleville, Ill., I am pleased and honored to offer my support for the relocation of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) West Facility to Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Ill., as my City Council of the City of Belleville, Ill., proclaimed in Resolution No. 3247 passed on Nov. 16, 2015.
We stand strongly behind the relocation of NGA’s western headquarters to the St. Clair County site adjacent to Scott Air Force Base and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. The NGA would be a tremendous economic asset for the surrounding communities, the St. Louis Metro East region, and the state of Illinois. It would bring 3,100-plus high-tech jobs to the area and eliminate the city 1 percent earnings tax that NGA currently pays in St. Louis — offering a savings to NGA and increased earnings to NGA employees. This area offers employees a high-security work location and convenience with access to an excellent public school system resulting in a high-quality lifestyle. Without a doubt, the residents and businesses of the City of Belleville welcome the NGA and its employees to our community.
Additionally, further advantages of the Scott AFB site include providing NGA with access to one of its largest customers, USTRANSCOM, which has its headquarters at Scott Air Force Base. The site is also home to the new Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence, which is adjacent to the base. The research center works with local universities to ensure future cybersecurity workers receive exceptional training, and develop expertise in the critical field of cybersecurity. This center will be beneficial to NGA’s recruitment and training efforts.
St. Clair County has indicated it will donate the land for NGA’s new facility, and the 182-acre site provides land for expansion to an adjacent 200-plus acres. The Shiloh-Scott MetroLink station is less than 3 miles from the site, and the county has indicated its intention to extend Metro to the site. The site also provides a secure communications network and modern utilities. This combined with a skilled construction workforce and close proximity to local transportation hubs, including this site being located adjacent to Interstate 64, makes this location perfect for the NGA and its employees.
This project is important for our community, our region and our nation. On behalf of the residents and businesses in the City of Belleville, I strongly support the NGA relocating to the Scott AFB site located in St. Clair County and look forward to welcoming NGA’s West facility and its employees to Illinois.
Mark W. Eckert