by Bob Geary
Finally, some stimulus money for the Cap City. For transit? Nope. It's for military operations -- a new N.C. National Guard HQ with room for the Highway Patrol, state Emergency Management and some DOT stuff. Location is off District Drive, on the other side of Blue Ridge Road from the N.C. Museum of Art. Details below from an effusive Gov. Bev Perdue:
Raleigh Project Gets $41.5 Million In Federal Funds; Will Provide Up To 4,200 Jobs
RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that work will begin shortly on a $56 million new North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters facility that will also house offices of the state Division of Emergency Management, the State Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation in Raleigh. The project, which is expected to create up to 4,200 jobs, will be open to bids next week with work to start as soon as early summer and to be finished within two years.
In addition to the National Guard, the facility will provide the main offices for North Carolina’s Emergency Management division, communications for the state Department of Transportation and the triangle area communications center of the Highway Patrol. About $41.5 million in federal funding for the facility was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The remaining money comes from state general and highway trust funds that had previously been set aside for the project.
“This project is big a win for North Carolina. It provides a state of the art facility that will better coordinate key state services and is ready to put people to work in much needed jobs,” Gov. Perdue said.
Securing money for this project was a top priority for Gov. Perdue, who personally discussed it with President Barack Obama and with North Carolina’s congressional delegation. Fourth Congressional District Rep. David Price was instrumental in boosting the funding for the Army National Guard account in the federal recovery legislation. Congressman Price also included language urging the National Guard to accelerate construction of the critical facility in reports accompanying the 2004, 2005, and 2007 Military Construction Appropriations bills.
“Today’s announcement comes at the end of a long and sometimes difficult process,” Price said. “As the highest priority new construction project in the country for the National Guard, the Joint Force Headquarters is undisputedly deserving of this significant funding. I thank Gov. Perdue and other members of our congressional delegation for their work and focus in bringing this important project to North Carolina.”
The new 237,000 square-foot facility will be located on an 18-acre site off of District Drive in Raleigh. The existing facility will continue to be used by current National Guard offices now housed in temporary trailers. Since September 2001, units of the N.C. National Guard have been continuously mobilized throughout the world.
The transition of the National Guard from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve requires more facilities to meet the increased service demands. Also, bringing agencies that consistently work together under one roof, will streamline coordination and provide for more effective response in emergency situations.