Thursday, October 23, 2008

Indiana National Guard to Build Lawrence Armory

I had the good fortune to meet with Adjutant General Martin Umbarger at the Indiana National Guard headquarters today. My purpose for meeting with him was to discuss their plans to build a new Armory out here at Ft. Benjamin Harrison and to see how this new development will benefit Lawrence.

I think there's no question that the new Lawrence Armory will be a huge benefit to Lawrence Village at the Fort as well.

The design of the new Armory is 95% complete. General Umbarger tells me that the construction bids open in January 2009 with the contract awarded by the end of February '09. They expect to break ground in April '09. It is their intention to do a Facility Dedication by May 2010.

The Lawrence Armory will be a headquarters for 4 units of the 76th Infantry Brigade (currently serving in Iraq.) The facility will house 61 full time soldiers and 397 part time traditional soldiers also called citizen soldiers. The Armory will cost up to $25 million and will be 110,000 square feet. It will be located on the north side 59th Street just within the boundary of Ft. Benjamin Harrison and directly to the east of the new PX & Commissary.

About 60% of the Armory soldiers will come from Indianapolis and nearby donut counties with 40% coming from across the state. Weekend drills will bring additional "strength" to Lawrence. All soldiers will be higher in rank since this is the headquarters for their units.

The Indiana National Guard is the State of Indiana's militia, authorized by the Governor in a time of crisis. The Guard supports the local government's public safety personnel, not leads them. It will be a huge benefit to Lawrence to have this Armory here in the event of necessary mobilization. Further, this Armory brings significant economic benefit as a result of increased expenditures of food, fuel, and other supplies.

And, did I mention that the Lawrence Armory will be yet another entity out here that will benefit from additional restaurants, retail, and whatever else the Village brings? (I think I just did.)

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