General Service Administration
United States of America

Recent news of General Service Administration (GSA) plans to relocate 800 well-paying jobs from Downtown St. Louis to an office park in suburban Overland, MO has come as a great disappointment to the leaders, residents and businesses of the City of St. Louis.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in revitalizing our once stagnant downtown; from investments in public transit to subsidies to developers of formerly vacant historic properties. Despite a loss of hundreds of thousands of people and jobs over the last 50 years and continued struggles with vacancy and crime, the City of St. Louis has never been more committed to its own rebirth. Civic and community leaders are hard at work at every level, from block captains to CEO, hashing out plans to make a more prosperous, livable, and sustainable city and region for generations to come.

To that end, we must not overlook the importance of a thriving central city and the role the State and Federal governments play in making this a reality.

The GSA consolidation in Overland starkly contrasts with smart growth principles that encourage investment in high density, walkable and easily-accessed urban centers.

The Obama Administration’s own Partnership for Sustainable Communities promotes communities “that have a variety of housing and transportation choices…[that]…have lower transportation costs, reduce air pollution and stormwater runoff, decrease infrastructure costs, preserve historic properties and sensitive lands, save people time in traffic, [and are] more economically resilient and meet market demand for different types of housing at different price points.”

If the Federal government is interested in coordinating and leveraging federal policies and investment, then I strongly recommend that the proposed consolidation before us be reconsidered. Former President Clinton's Executive Order 12072 created an official policy around locating federal jobs in "the centers for growth and commerce" i.e. historic downtowns. Further, the consolidation contradicts the intent of President Obama's Executive Order 13514, Sec. 10 "Recommendations for Sustainable Locations for Federal Facilities," which encourages federal jobs to be sited in areas served by transit, that are safe and convenient for pedestrians, near affordable housing, and so forth.

Please let St. Louis follow Kansas City’s policy of consolidating federal jobs in the center of commerce -- downtown.

Thank you for your consideration.

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The Keep VA Jobs in Downtown St. Louis petition to General Service Administration was written by Lewis E. Reed and is in the category Government at GoPetition.