Closer to Reality $ 15 Million Vehicle Store at Bloomington National Guard Facility | Politics
BLOOMINGTON – A $ 15 million addition to the Illinois National Guard facility in Bloomington is about to be approved by Congress.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, passed by the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday, provides for the construction of a vehicle maintenance building at the South Main Street site, just at north of Veterans Parkway. Reports say the bill will go through the Senate and onto President Joe Biden’s desk.
$ 10 million in funding for the Illinois National Guard
Lt. Col. Brad Leighton, director of public affairs for the Illinois National Guard, told the Pantagraph that the store’s design is just over 32,000 square feet and will be on the old athletic fields. Between 10 and 30 full-time employees will staff it, he said. This number consists mainly of mechanics.
Leighton said the expansion would help the National Guard achieve higher readiness, and “that’s still what we want in the military.”
He explained that Bloomington was chosen for its centralized location in Illinois and that building here will allow the Guard to serve units statewide.
Locations near the store would be Peoria, Bartonville, Decatur, Macomb, Galesburg, Urbana, and Pontiac. Service equipment from Guard’s facilities in Urbana, Decatur and Peoria would be moved to the new facility in Bloomington.
“We definitely need the maintenance shop and it will allow us to do it more efficiently and efficiently,” said Leighton.
Federal funds will cover the costs and the project is expected to go to tender in late spring, he said.
“We hope to pave the way by mid-summer 2022, and we hope for completion by mid-to-late 2024,” he added.
“We are delighted that it has been included in the NDAA.”
Bost and Davis vote for national defense bill, Miller votes no
The Belleville News-Democrat reported that four of Illinois’ five Republican representatives voted in favor of the bill. The quartet included representatives Rodney Davis, Darin LaHood, Adam Kinzinger and Mike Bost. Representative Mary Miller was the sole opponent of the Illinois GOP.
Davis described Bloomington’s expansion as an opportunity to show “what the great men and women of the Guard units” do on a regular basis.
The law finances all aspects of American security, he added. He said the NDAA is the avenue they use in Congress to help the military protect this country and that they need these facilities to do their jobs.
“I will never vote for funding our military at a time when our nation’s security is threatened by our adversaries,” Davis said.
He also praised the local guard unit for championing the project and said he looked forward to seeing its completion.
The $ 768 million bill also includes a 2.7% wage hike for the military and criminal prosecution reforms in sexual assault cases.
Contact Brendan Denison at (309) 820-3238. Follow Brendan Denison on Twitter: @BrendanDenison