(Reporter Nadia Thacker at Missourinet affiliate KFEQ Radio in St. Joseph contributed to this story)
Buchanan County has transferred land to the Missouri National Guard for the construction of a new training site in northwest Missouri, near St. Joseph.
Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner says the 46 acres near I-29 and North 169 Highway will eventually become a training site similar to Camp Clark in Nevada, Missouri.
“We don’t have anything in northwest Missouri so as we continue to build our Army strength and Air quite frankly we need to have a training camp that our soldiers and airmen can use,” Danner says. “Camp Clark has barracks, training areas, firing ranges etc. We hope to build this piece of ground into a similar configuration.”
During Thursday’s ceremony, Buchanan County Commissioners signed paperwork to transfer the land.
“It’s going to be a big boost for the economy and the community,” says Eastern District Commissioner Dan Hausman. “It’s great to be the commissioner that makes it happen. It was a group effort and there were a lot of people involved. I’m going out of office tomorrow and I’m glad we got it done before I left.”
Engineers with the Guard will now need to work on a strategy for the future on how to configure the camp. However, Danner says the land could be used as soon as 2017.
“In the army we do things in tents. So being in the field etc. is what we do every day. The piece of ground that we have here is already a training ground for us to be able to use,” Danner says. “This won’t happen overnight but we will be able to utilize it very quickly so I can see us next summer being able to do things here.”
About 2,000 army units located in northwest Missouri would utilize the site. Danner tells Missourinet St. Joseph affiliate KFEQ Radio that he’s also looking at bringing in additional units into the state.
“I think it will be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in savings to the taxpayers in reduced travel costs and fuel costs. Plus it will give me an opportunity to bring more units in,” Danner said. “Each of those units brings in $3 to $3.5 million in payroll every year. So when I’m talking about bringing in five new units to the state that’s a lot of payroll to our folks and a lot of jobs.”