Iowa National Guard assesses armory locations, consolidation

Iowa National Guard assesses armory locations, consolidation

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Population shifts and changing needs have prompted the Iowa Army National Guard to consider closing some small town armories and building a centralized building for soldier drills and training in the Des Moines area, a guard official told lawmakers Wednesday.

The guard's construction and facilities manager told a legislative committee the guard is working with the city of West Des Moines on building a new armory that could be shared by the city and the guard.

Colonel John Perkins said about $22 million would be needed with 75% federal funding and 25% state money.

He said the project is expected to begin in 2023 and will be designed to consolidate forces. That could mean closing armories in smaller communities.

Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Ben Corell said last week that population shifts from rural areas require him to considering closing some armories.

“I can't continue to have quality infrastructure where I'm pouring tax dollars from federal and state funds into facilities that I can't keep manned because I can't recruit from local areas because the pool of people just doesn't exist,” he said.

About 4,700 Iowa National Guard soldiers make use of about a dozen armories around larger Iowa cities. Another 29 armories are scattered around Iowa, serving 2,100 soldiers.

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