City working toward landing armoryPublished 9:47am Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The City of Greenville has taken another step toward bringing an armory back to the Camellia City.
City officials have paid Boyd Foster nearly $2,000 to survey the site of the Alabama National Guard’s Fort Robert E. Steiner as a precursor to swapping property with the National Guard.
“Right now we hope to swap property with them,” Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said. “We would own the old National Guard armory, and they’d have a piece of property that they might be able to do something else with.”
That something else could be constructing a new regional armory, which would serve as a central training point for units across the state.
Alabama National Guard spokesman Capt. Andrew Richardson said in February of 2013 that there are plans to build an armory in Greenville “at a future date.” He said officials with the National Guard have spoken with city officials.
Greenville has been without an armory since December of 2011 when National Guard officials closed Fort Robert E. Steiner.
It was one of 13 armories across the state that was closed in an effort to save approximately $7 million, according to officials with the National Guard. The other armories that were closed were located in Georgiana, Grove Hill, Hartselle, Heflin, Linden, Lineville, Millport, Moulton, Ozark, Thomasville, Wetumpka and Union Springs.
Maj. Gen. Perry G. Smith, Alabama National Guard adjutant general, said a variety of factors, including the age and condition of the facilities, ability to respond statewide to disasters, cost analysis and the locations of units in relation to their headquarters were considered when determining which armories would be closed.
Richardson said that most of the National Guard’s future armories will “house more than just Alabama National Guard units,” and that “in an effort to better utilize space and resources (the National Guard) will partner with other government agencies and departments.”
McLendon said the city officials have been working to bring an armory back to the city since the closure of Fort Robert E. Steiner, which was located in Greenville for 58 years.
“Right now we’re just going through the process,” McLendon said. “There are steps we have to take, and this survey is one of them. If anything happens, it’s not going to happen overnight.”