Lodging construction to begin in fall
The lodging project will help solidify the base, a congressman from the Valley said.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
VIENNA -- Construction on Phase 1 of the four-phase, $34.5 million Joint Services Lodging project at Youngstown Air Reserve Station is slated to begin this fall.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, presented a ceremonial $7.5 million check, which represents funding for Phase 1, to Col. Timothy Thomson, base and 910th Airlift Wing commander.
"This is a very good day. It is not very often you get to bring $7.5 million back to the Mahoning Valley," Ryan said at Friday's ceremony.
Ryan said it is important to solidify the air base, which he described as a steady hand economically, particularly in view of the problems facing the auto industry and the possible negative impact on the Valley.
"More lodging at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station has been a longstanding need, and I will do all that I can to see that it is built," Ryan said. "We want to make sure that this base is front and center ... [and] is on the cutting edge of any new Department of Defense developments, whether overseas or involving homeland security. This project will help."
"Adequate housing for reserves who train here positively impacts our mission," Thomson said.
He said it will be less expensive than housing personnel in area motels, more convenient for training, save time and money for the reservists, and also improve force security.
Hope for future
Officials hope the latest DOD investment here will lead to more federal money in the future with which to complete the project.
The base currently has 76 rooms in two wood-frame barracks built in 1953, said Larry LeMar, base civil engineer. LeMar said Phase 1 will add 40 to 55 rooms, including quarters for the disabled, a couple of VIP suites, lodge offices and storage. He expects construction to begin this fall and be completed in 2007, with occupancy slated for March 2008.
Phases 2 and 3, with an estimated combined cost of $18 million, will add 210 rooms. The $9 million Phase 4 would replace the current wood barracks, LeMar said.
The current barracks have just been upgraded, adding ceiling fans, making them accessible to people with disabilities, and bringing them up to code for fire suppression, officials said.