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National Guard to spend millions on new Tacoma facility


The Army is planning to spend $26 million on a new National Guard facility in Tacoma. The readiness center would bring the Guard back to the city after leaving its historic Armory two years ago.

Congressman Derek Kilmer, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, joined Reps. Adam Smith and Denny Heck in pushing the Army to fund the new center. He said the Tacoma project is a high priority, even in an atmosphere of military budget cuts.

“The Washington National Guard has asked for a replacement facility on their military construction list for many years, and it had not yet been funded. And there was obviously a great need,” Kilmer said.

Kilmer and Heck both say the facility is crucial to ensuring the Guard’s “force readiness.”

“This is where our guardsmen go to train to help us not just in times of war, but also in times of emergency and disaster,” said Heck.

The Armory was more than a century old, and was considered out of date when it shut down in 2011. Since then Guard members have had to travel to Boeing Field in Seattle for their training.

The new readiness center doesn’t yet have a timeline for completion, though the Army has reportedly set aside leftover funds from other Army construction projects that came in under-budget. The state will have to come up with more than six million dollars in matching money.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.