Arsenal gets $19.95M from stimulus

2009-03-23T00:00:00Z Arsenal gets $19.95M from stimulusKurt Allemeier The Quad-City Times
March 23, 2009 12:00 am  • 

Roof, road and remodeling work will hit the Rock Island Arsenal in a big way in a short time.

Rock Island Arsenal received $19.95 million from the federal economic recovery package for a lengthy list of infrastructure projects that could start within weeks.

That will be followed by a remodeling of one of the 19th-century buildings the 1st Army will use for its new headquarters. That project is budgeted at more than $20 million, with construction to start later this summer.

The $19 million from the federal economic recovery package eclipses the $13 million annually budgeted for such projects, garrison manager Joel Himsl said Monday. Most of the work will be done by local contractors.

“That is huge,” he said. “It will help with housing and infrastructure right here.

“Anything we can do on this island to restore our historic infrastructure is really, really important.”

Among the $19 million is $930,000 for new housing construction.

“There is no greater economic boom to the Quad-Cities than a strong and stable Rock Island Arsenal,” U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., said. “This federal funding will create jobs, repair and modernize critical infrastructure, improve the quality of life for Army families and protect Arsenal Island from any future Base Realignment and Closures.”

Arsenal officials and congressmen like Hare keep future BRAC actions in the back of their minds, so the additional infrastructure funding is important.

“With $20 million a year, we would turn this place into a gem,” Himsl said. “We’re not buying Cadillac stuff. We’re doing things we really, really need.”

Getting these projects started as soon as possible will help not only the Arsenal, but also the Quad-Cities economy.

“Big investments like these are happening across Iowa already, from highway projects to school funding, which is why the Recovery Act will create 37,000 jobs across the state and help turn the economy around,” said U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

The big ticket item on the list of projects is replacing the Moline bridge roadway, estimated at $4.9 million.

Himsl noted, “The Moline bridge is not falling down, but we need to replace the road deck.”

The projects on the list have been planned for in the past and needed to be shovel-ready to receive funding, Himsl said. Construction can start quickly for most, but bigger projects, such as the bridge, will take longer.

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