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Minnesota National Guard
New Armory, fire hall deal set for Monday closing

Stillwater city leaders are set to close on a deal Monday that will provide land for a new US Army National Guard armory complex that could also include a new city fire hall

The Army - which is expected to sign off on the deal soon - has been interested in constructing a new $20 million armory for the 34th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, also known as the "Red Bull" unit

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday signed off on a plan to buy 15 acres of land between Washington County Highway 12 and Boutwell Road North near Maryknoll Drive on the city's west side

City leaders agreed to add an extra $250,000 for one of two new access points that would eventually be added near the property, brining the city's cost in the deal to around $115 million

"The extra money that the council decided to go forward with is for turn lanes that will be added off Myrtle Street," City Administrator Larry Hansen said "The armory folks can't spend money outside of the area where the armory will be built, but they will pay for most of a new public street that will go between Boutwell and Myrtle"

National Guard officials have said the new armory could bring more than $6 million to the city annually when salaries, supplies, utilities and other purchases for guard members are factored in According to city leaders, a new fire hall that shares space with the armory would allow for faster response times for the fire department, among other advantages

If a new fire hall is eventually built, it would like share locker room space, classroom and training facilities, kitchen facilities, workout facilities and a backup power generator

Once the deal goes through, it would bring 53 full-time members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, which is currently located in Bloomington About 400 soldiers would train in Stillwater on the weekends

The new armory would be a 72,000-square-foot building with a gymnasium available to the public when not used by the National Guard Stillwater is currently home to the military police arm of the Red Bull unit, which would be relocated to the new location, according to the National Guard

The Army has said it wants to have the new Stillwater armory running by the spring of 2015

Published: Friday, October 29, 2010 1:31 PM CDT

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