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US Defense Bill Could Help Fund Army Readiness Center in Stillwater

Updated: 12/21/2013 7:45 PM
Created: 12/21/2013 7:39 AM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart

A new armory could be coming to Stillwater.

$17 million would be set aside to build a new Army National Guard Readiness Center off Highway 12. It’s just one part of the national defense bill passed by the U.S. Senate late Thursday.  If the bill passes one more round of voting, the new armory allows for more space for the city's fire and police stations.

The City of Stillwater has been working with the Minnesota Army National Guard for a number of years to provide property suitable for the facility.

With each new house built in Stillwater the response time for firefighters, tucked in their department on the east side of town, gets longer. However if the Federal government approves a new $17 million armory for the center of town; the city's fire station would be built to next to it, and share some of its space.

The Stillwater Fire Department needs more space, often times they have to move some trucks in order to get other engines out to emergencies, that increases the response time to 8 to 9 minutes at time. The new location should equalize the response time to 6 minutes or less all across the city, according to the chief.

The plan is for the armory and new $7 million fire station to be built by 2016. That way the police station will move out of its tight corridors and expand into the fire station.

Three years ago the City of Stillwater bought 17 acres of foreclosed property for $800,000 and they'll donate it to the National Guard. But Mayor Ken Harycki says the deal is a win for his city. The armory is expected to bring in 30 and 50 new jobs to the east metro.

"The community benefits by picking up classroom spaces, basketball courts available for scheduling," said Mayor Ken Harycki.

Get more information about the projects here.

Image: City of Stillwater

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