Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Site sought for new Army Reserve Center

It looks like things are starting to heat up. I hear that Jafza is going to have a ground braking in October. Ron

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer | Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010 4:18 am | (2) Comments
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The U.S. Army provided this sketch of a design for an Army Reserve Center, indicating the new $11.6 million center planned for the area would be similar.

The U.S. Army wants to purchase land within a 50-mile radius of the Orangeburg area for the construction of an Army Reserve Center.
Public Affairs Specialist Ken Beyer says leads are currently being sought for available land.
"We are only ... in the ‘looking for property' stage so there are no properties under consideration yet," Beyer said.
The Army hopes to purchase a 15-acre tract of land that has no environmental problems, is in close proximity to utilities, has good vehicle access and visibility, is suitable for construction of the center and is within budget.
The project will include a 34,000-square-foot training building, a 5,000-square-foot maintenance shop, a 2,000-square-foot unheated storage building and a 5,800-square-yard parking area.
Beyer said the time-frame is uncertain for construction of the facility but the $11.6 million project will be funded in the 2012 fiscal year budget.
The work will include land clearing, paving, fencing, site improvements and utility extensions.
"The new facility will be occupied by the eight Army Reserve units currently occupying the existing Orangeburg Memorial United States Army Reserve Center," Beyer said. The existing center is located on John C. Calhoun Drive across from Superior Honda in Orangeburg.
He said the new center will provide administrative, assembly, library, learning center, vault, weapons simulator and physical fitness space for the reserve units. The maintenance shop will provide work bays and administrative support.
Beyer hesitated to place an economic impact assessment on what the reserve center could mean from a dollar or jobs standpoint. However, he said soldiers will use local colleges and universities and spend locally. In addition, he said local catering businesses will provide meals for the soldiers, and local contractors will benefit from building maintenance projects.
Once the new center is built and occupied, the old Reserve Center will be considered "excess property" and "more than likely returned to the city," Beyer said. Options could be to convert the building into a homeless shelter, sell it or transfer it for use as a public facility, he said.
Gregg Robinson, Orangeburg County Development Commission executive director, says the county has been in contact with the U.S. Army for the past 30 days and has responded to the Army's request for a proposal.
"We have several properties that fit the criteria of the Army," Robinson said. "We would obviously like to place this facility in Orangeburg County. Folks are interested in the Orangeburg area due to our location, and the Global Logistics Triangle works for manufacturing and for the military. Orangeburg County is important logistically with the connectivity (it) offers."
In addition, the area is ideal because of its restaurants and the interstate, he said.
Robinson said the military sector fits in well with the county's future development plans.
"The Army is a very important part of Orangeburg County," he said, noting that supporting and training the Reservists to protect the nation's interests is very important.
"The beauty of having a facility of that quality in our community is the derived externalities that (will come) from other military investments."
More restaurants and service stations could be a part of the spin-off, Robinson said.
"We continue to work with a number of different types of projects," he said. "We are trying to make sure we have a competitive environment of growth for the county."
Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551.
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