Director, mayor, Air Force sign land transfer document for new NGA facility at ceremony in STL
Officials from the Air Force, St. Louis and NGA signed a document commemorating the transfer of land from the City of St. Louis to the Air Force Dec. 13 at St. Louis Central Library – a key milestone in the development of the new NGA facility in North St. Louis.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Richard Hartley, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and NGA Director Robert Cardillo signed the land transfer document in front of a crowd of more than 300 people. Included in the crowd was Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert McMahon; Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Rep. Lacy Clay and Rep. Ann Wagner; St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger; NGA executives and employees; and St. Louis residents.
At the ceremony, Cardillo said the North St. Louis site ensures NGA’s mission success in the future because of the area’s excellent academic institutions, innovative industry, engaged neighbors and committed local citizens.
“Our mission’s success could not be more optimized than in North St. Louis,” Cardillo said.
“We’ve worked really hard to be here, and now we get to deliver a world-class facility to keep our nation secure,” Cardillo said. “That’s the real fun. So let’s reflect, let’s take a deep breath, and let’s get back to work. We have a lot to do.”
Cardillo began his remarks by recounting that the federal government’s investment in St. Louis to protect the nation originated with the St. Louis Arsenal about 200 years ago, which began “the interdependent relationship between St. Louis and national security.”
“Our forefathers set the conditions to enable safe navigation, more secure warfighters and more informed policymakers” from St. Louis, Cardillo said.
“The country made a bet with that investment, and it’s already paid off,” he said. “We couldn’t be prouder to reinvest.”
The land transfer itself officially took place Dec. 11. The Dec. 13 ceremony celebrated the “the hard work by a lot of people and the strengthened partnership between the city of St. Louis, county, state, federal partners and NGA,” said Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corporation.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said the ceremony marks “a very historic event.”
“And it’s happening because of the tenacity and effort of so many people,” she said. “Thank you to our federal partners for your confidence in St. Louis and your enormous investment in St. Louis. I know you will love your new home at Jefferson and Cass. We are committed to continuing our partnership with you every step of the way.”
After the ceremony, Cardillo presented Williams with an NGA medallion, recognizing his efforts to help deliver the future NGA site to the Air Force.
The contract for the construction of the new NGA facility in North St. Louis, a design-build effort is scheduled to be awarded by the Corps of Engineers in spring 2019, with move-in projected to begin in 2024.
More comments from the ceremony:
Otis Williams, executive director, St. Louis Development Corporation: “This is a great day. I want everyone to feel good. I do.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: “This is perfect example of seeing state, local and federal sitting at the table with a vision and a plan. Today we get to see the result of their hard work. This project is a model for the rest of Missouri, and a vision for the rest of the United States to look at Missouri and see what we’ve done.”
Rep. Lacy Clay: “Today we are taking a giant step forward to defend our nation and transform a long-challenged neighborhood into a center of excellence and employment with a limitless future. … Every citizen that moved not only made a sacrifice for their community, but a brave sacrifice for their country.”
Rep. Ann Wagner: “St. Louis has been home to NGA for over 70 years, and our city’s wonderful talent has made American safe again and again. This is one of the largest federal investment projects in the history of St. Louis, and it has truly been a regional effort with everyone doing their part to make it happen. … I look forward to hammering in nails myself as construction is underway.”
Hartley: “The Air Force is proud to be part of the effort that will give NGA a state-of-the-art, secure and resilient campus.”
McMahon: “One word you have not heard today that’s tremendously important that allowed us where we get to where we are today is compromise. Nobody got all they wanted, but at the end of the day because we were willing to compromise, we are here today to celebrate something that many thought was not possible. This is about winning, and when you compromise, everybody can win.