Governor Beshear attends ceremonial groundbreaking for new Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center in Owensboro

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2010) — Governor Steve Beshear today joined Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General for Kentucky, and local officials in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Kentucky Army National Guard Readiness Center in the city of Owensboro, Ky.

“This is a great day for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Kentucky National Guard,” said Gov. Beshear. “In a time when money is tight and other states are losing armories, we are fortunate to have a brand new readiness center that will serve as a home for our great citizen-soldiers and also be a valuable resource for the people of Owensboro and Daviess County. This project speaks highly of our National Guard and the men and women who so proudly serve our nation and state.”

Construction for the $14 million facility will begin later this spring. Located on 20 acres of land adjacent to the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, the project is expected to take between 12-18 months to complete.

“This new readiness center represents so many things to so many people,” said Maj. Gen. Tonini. “In addition to its main function as a headquarters for our hometown defense force, it will serve as base of operations in times of natural disaster and other emergencies. Last year’s ice storm showed the importance of mission readiness and this new structure puts us ahead of the game in preparing for the future.”

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne presented Gov. Beshear and Adjutant General Tonini with a $1 million check for the old National Guard armory located at 1501 West Parrish Ave. That land will be used as part of the ongoing downtown development project.

The $10.3 million federal portion of funding for military construction is contained in the $446.8 billion dollar Omnibus Bill signed by President Barack Obama in December. The Owensboro facility funding is part of a non-geographic specific $30 million provided the National Guard Bureau, targeted at sites where projects are “shovel-ready.” The Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, through the Governor’s office, funded the design phase of this project earlier in 2009 in order for Kentucky to be best positioned to receive the funding.

The new Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center is the result of a 99-year land lease agreement signed Aug. 12, 2008 between the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

Primarily designed to provide the Kentucky Army National Guard a regional base of operations, the $14 million facility consists of 57,644 square feet of administrative offices, storage facilities, classrooms and drill hall.

Twenty-five percent — or approximately $3.5 million — of the total cost is state-funded through the Department of Military Affairs.

Approximately 17 full-time and 163 part-time personnel will be employed at the new readiness center. The facility will be home to two Kentucky Army National Guard units, Headquarters Support Company and Forward Support Company, both with the 206 Engineer Battalion.

For more information on the Kentucky National Guard, please visit www.dma.ky.gov.

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