Chesteen Questions Geneva County Armory Closures
Upon hearing the news of the impending closures of the Geneva and Hartford National Guard Armories and several additional armories across the state, Rep. Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva) took action requesting further explanation for the citizens of Geneva County, especially in light of a $50 million bond issue that voters recently approved for such facilities.
“Geneva County has a proud history of military service and the closure of our national guard armories will have a tremendous economic impact on not only our community but on the entire Wiregrass region,” Chesteen said.
Chesteen has had numerous meetings with representatives from the Alabama National Guard and the Governor’s Office over the past several days to obtain additional information about the armory closures and determine whether they can be avoided.
In each of his meetings Chesteen discussed the $50 million bond issue passed by the Legislature and approved by Alabama voters in November of 2014 which would provide for the construction, maintenance, and renovation of National Guard armories. Combined with federal matching dollars, this bond issue would provide $100M additional dollars for Alabama’s armories.
Despite media reports citing cuts made in the FY16 budget as cause for armory closings, the Governor’s staff revealed that the closings were part of an already established plan to close 21 armory units over 2 years. In addition, National Guard staff indicated that access to bond funds would provide for modernization actions at armories which will remain open.
“It was the will of the Legislature and the will of Alabamians to provide additional funding for our National Guard armories and we deserve to know why the bonds have not been issued,” Chesteen said. “I’m hopeful that the issuance of this bond will allow the Alabama National Guard to re-evaluate their closure plan and potentially save the closure of some existing armories. I will continue to ask the tough questions and demand honest answers on behalf of the constituents of House District 87.”
Chesteen added that his efforts will continue until the $50M bond is issued and funds are received by the National Guard.
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