Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TOP STORY >>Beebe will bring check for armory

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

Gov. Mike Beebe will be in Cabot at 11 a.m. Thursday to present Mayor Eddie Joe Williams with a check to help pay for the land where the new National Guard armory will be built.

The public is invited to the presentation ceremony which will take place at the community center on North Lincoln.

The mayor has asked the governor for $100,000 from his discretionary fund to help pay for the 15.5 acres in the industrial park on Highway 367 where the armory (now called a readiness center) will be built.

However, the actual amount of the check has not been disclosed.

The city council approved buying the property for the facility at a price of $399,000 with the contingency that the state would pay $350,000 of that amount.

In addition to the $100,000 expected from the governor, state Sen. Bobby Glover (D-Carlisle) said when the council agreed to the purchase in July that $150,000 would come from the almost $1 billion state surplus.

After the land has been paid for, it will be turned over to the National Guard which will place the facility in line for federal funding within the next five years. The state has not built a new armory since September 2005 when a $4.25 million facility went up in Warren.

It’s estimated that the Cabot armory will cost $8 million.

Williams has said building the armory is “the single biggest thing for Cabot in recent history” and that it will have an economic impact on the city of $1 million or more a year.

It will be visible from the new railroad overpass now under construction and since the overpass will be used by school buses, Williams says the location will be good for recruiting.

Williams also says he hopes construction of the armory will have a positive impact on his efforts to get federal money to build the north interchange that is part of his three-phase plan to connect Hwy. 5 to U.S. 67-167.