The City of Saint Louis fears losing a goose laying golden eggs, the Federal Government's National Geospatial Agency, which is looking for a new site among several possible locations in the greater Saint Louis Region.
What is at stake are taxes, specifically the 1% earnings tax on gross incomes now paid by NGA's employees to the City of Saint Louis. These taxpayers make no demands on the City for services and don't vote---most all live out of the City and commute by car to the current NGA location---so these taxes are now pure gravy or profit to the City.
We do not know why---for the Post and our other local media has no sources and never actually discovers and reports inside news---but for unknown reasons finding a suitable site within the vast empty expanses of the City of Saint Louis has been beyond the capabilities of the Mayor and Board of Alderpersons.
The original solution was to plopp NGA's "fort," and that is what is would be, right in the middle of Paul McKee's Northside Redevelopment. It would be a "fort," like all post 9/11 Federal Buildings, wholly self-contained. No coffee shops or dry cleaners or cafes or other signs of real urban life are ever going to see customers walking out of the building or buildings and across the street.
Now, due to unknown facts and circumstances (the Mayor's statement that the McKee site wasn't big enough makes no sense) there is felt to be a need to move the location onto a 100 acre tract now occupied by as many as 50 city residents. Given the importance of keeping NGA how could the Mayor not have known of NGA's requirements for a larger site?
Via Bill 263 the Board has been considering giving Land Clearance and Redevelopment the power of eminent domain to acquire the site.
Alderman Antonio French has been opposing Bill 263, seeking to remove the eminent domain provisions from the bill, leading to this Twitter exchange between French and Editor Messenger:
- Let's first deal with Antonio French and then Editor Messenger.
Alderman French, this blog post from Phys.org warrants more than one read: Study shows parasites may resort to sabotage if there are conflicting interests with a host.The City of Saint Louis is the host. Editor Messenger says you are engaging in sabotaging activities.
- As for Editor Messenger, well, first, there went any hope for Regional support: "Would you rather it go to Scott AFB?"
If the Post and its Editors were truly interested in the prosperity of the entire region the question would never be asked. The question would simply be, for the whole community, what would be the best location?
To the point, the best location could well be in North Saint Louis County with easy access to the Airport and possible extension of Metro Link, you know #Ferguson.