Cooperatove Conservation Project

Defense Mapping Agency Center/National Imagery and Mapping Agency

Location: Midwest/Northern High Plains Region: Missouri

Project Summary: Formerly used Defense site is being restored for economic development and conservation of significant wetland areas.
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An aerial view of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency in St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Stephen J. Matteo)
Resource Challenge
In a blighted industrial area near the Mississippi River called Lemay, on the urban fringe of St. Louis, Missouri, lies a 39-acre property once used by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). Now abandoned, the property has both economic and environmental value. It is close to other developable areas and right-of-ways, and with significant wetlands, it offers an outstanding opportunity to protect and enhance the area’s natural assets, promote economic development and local employment, and improve the quality of life for Lemay residents.

The property is currently unusable. The Air Force has forged a partnership to eliminate potential health and safety hazards, restore the property, and return it to productive use as quickly as possible. One of the partners, the St. Louis County Port Authority, has proposed developing the NIMA property and an adjoining property under Port Authority ownership. It envisions mixed-use commercial development coupled with restoration and conservation of critical natural resources. Recreation opportunities will include a link to an existing bike trail. A four-lane access road along the northern border of the NIMA property will open the landlocked adjoining Port Authority property, making the initiative possible. The NIMA reuse plan has been endorsed by residents of the nearby residential neighborhood.
Examples of Key Partners
Federal Agencies: US Air Force Real Property Agency, General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); State Government: Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MODNR); Local Governments: St. Louis County Executive, St. Louis County Port Authority; Non-government: St. Louis County Economic Council.
Results and Accomplishments
With $300 million in private investment, the Port Authority is planning a mixed-use gaming, retail, entertainment, and recreation center on the NIMA site and adjoining properties. The Air Force has declared the property excess to its needs, and GSA is currently completing its review to assure there are no other needs for the site. The goal is to complete the sale to the Port Authority by early 2006 to fast-track the property transfer and development.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will then oversee the property’s environmental characterization (assessment) and restoration. Characterization and restoration costs will be credited against the purchase price of the property. The project is expected to save money by synchronizing remediation with development activities at the site.

Excess Air Force property will be used to boost economic development and environmental values in a blighted industrial area.

Project Contact
Mark Brady
Assistant Vice President, Real Estate and Community Development
St. Louis County Economic Development Council

Lt. Col. Douglas Burkett
Natural and Cultural Resource Program Manager
US Air Force


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