ST. LOUIS — When Hurricane Ian hit Florida, the St. Louis NGA sent crews to process 60,000 drone images a day for information they used to give damage assessments, determine evacuation routes, and support life-saving missions.
But this work came just weeks after their own brush with Mother Nature: flooding that affected the construction site that will become their new home in north city.
"If you recall, we received rain storms in the St. Louis area on July 26 is when that happened," project executive Josh Gaghen said of the damage, adding they have "worked through getting all of those items that were affected back into the state of where they were before that happened."
"What it is going to do for our mission and what it is going to do for this region… I think it's truly, truly tremendous," NGA West Executive Sue Pollman said.
Behind so much of the federal government's mapping, NGA staff say they need a building that meets their needs now and for the future.
"Today if you were to visit us at the Arsenal and 2nd St., we could not easily bring you in. You would have to give us advance notice, we would have to do background checks, etc.," Pollman said.
Project leaders have long touted the potential for economic development even as neighbors protested their displacement saying what's going up in the St. Louis Place neighborhood could create more growth in the region as businesses spring up to support the 4,000 NGA employees who will start moving into the building at Jefferson & Cass Aves. December 2025.
"This construction project itself is huge from an economic standpoint," Pollman said.