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Illinois county launches bid to host U.S. Space Command headquarters

By MAX KOZLOV | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Published: June 9, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — St. Clair County has launched a bid for the site of the new U.S. Space Command headquarters on land originally proposed for the $1.7 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency western headquarters.

When fully established, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force John Henderson anticipates that the headquarters will have approximately 1,400 employees.

"It's a great location, it's in the center of the country, and it has all the makings that have made Scott Air Force Base so successful," said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

For the bid to move forward in the selection process, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker must endorse it by June 30.

Pritzker's office did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment.

Kern said the proposed site is now more easily accessible with a new I-64 interchange and the funding of a long-sought $96 million Metro East extension to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

To be eligible for nomination for the bid, the Department of Defense is looking for a community that is within the top 150 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas, is located within 25 miles of a military base, and has a Livability Index score of 50 points or higher, as determined by the American Association of Retired Persons Public Policy Institute.

In his self-nomination letter, Kern said, “After careful review of the screening and evaluation criteria, we believe our community meets all minimum eligibility requirements and would earn a competitive score when assessed against the evaluation criteria.”

Henderson said he anticipates making a final decision for the site early next year.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) said they support the bid.

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