Army Nat. Guard Armory could relocate to Marine Base - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Army Nat. Guard Armory could relocate to Marine Base

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Governor Nathan Deal's budget for 2016 has tentative provisions to move the Georgia National Guard Armory in Albany to the Marine Corps Logistics Base.

Approximately $1.1 million of state money has been allocated to make the move.

The total cost will be $1.5 million, and Albany and Dougherty County Commissioners will have a called meeting Tuesday morning at 8:30 to discuss and vote on spending the remaining $400,000 needed to facilitate the move.

The idea is to make sure Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base has as many missions and community ties as possible, making it vitally important when and if the next round of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, comes up.

County Commission Chairman Christopher Cohilas said this move would show the state that there is local support, and prove that the city and county "have skin in the game."

"Will increase the relevancy of the Marine Corps logistics base when and if it's ever reviewed by chance with respect to future 'BRAC's.' In hopes that the collaboration can produce a brighter economic future. Today we are glad to announce that we are one step closer to this event occurring," said Cohilas.

Local leaders moving quickly also in hopes that a bigger and newer armory here might attract more Georgia National Guard troops and missions, increasing South Georgia security in natural disasters or national security.

Albany and Dougherty County leaders for nearly a decade have been seeking to move the Armory to the Marine Base. Now with the Governor's backing they want to move quickly to make sure it gets done.

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas said moving the Armory on base is vital to the local economy, because more than 4,500 people work on base and it is a huge driver of South Georgia's economy.

The Governor's recommended budget must pass the House and the Senate before he can sign it.

Back in April 2014 the armory was renamed the 'Command Sergeant Major Billy G. Manning Readiness Center,' after the soldier it was dedicated to. He was described as a tough soldier that didn't mind hurting feelings to save a life.

Many still carry a gold coin he passed out to people with three simple, yet profound words: "Make it Happen."

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