Valley City has been home to National Guard facilities for decades. But with the Guard expanding, the Valley Development Group and city officials are working with the National Guard to establish a new, updated facility for them in Valley City.
Valley City City Administrator David Schelkoph said that the National Guard would like a new site altogether for their new development, and the city has offered five or six different sites, from which the National Guard is in the process of choosing.
Jennifer Feist, director of development for Valley Development Group, said the National Guard needs three pieces to their new development. They need a maintenance center where all the heavy equipment from the surrounding guard units will come for maintenance.
With equipment becoming more and more sophisticated technologically, the second needed building is a heated storage unit.
The third piece to the new development would be the readiness center that would be used for training. Feist said the National Guard has outgrown the existing readiness center, which is located on Winter Show Road at the National Guard Armory. That facility was built in 1971, and the armory before that was located downtown near the City Auditorium.
Due to expanding needs of the Guard, they have outgrown the facility in terms of space, training needs and the technology that they utilize today.
“The role of the National Guard has changed substantially over the years. They are depended on and called upon more frequently and in different ways than what they had been, say 15 years ago, whether it’s natural disasters, flooding here in our own community, terrorism at the national level, which can happen anywhere, not to mention foreign obligations,” Feist said.
The newly-developed facilities in Valley City would help meet these expanded needs.
The National Guard has 23 people between the maintenance center that is currently located at the airport and the readiness center, and Feist said they expect that number to go up to maybe 35.
Officials are still working together on this new development and no decision has been made yet.
Schelkoph said the city’s main responsibility for working with the Guard on their new facility would be providing them with the land. The Guard will pay for the infrastructure including sewer, water and electric, Schelkoph said, which is going to be helpful to taxpayers.
Depending on which location the Guard chooses for their new facility, the city might have to provide some infrastructure funding.
“We’re currently in the process of pulling things together and collecting information,” Feist said.
She and Shelkoph feel the National Guard is a vital part of our community and would like to see the National Guard stay in Valley City.
“Valley city has been a huge supporter of the National Guard for many, many years and to have them here is important to the community. They have been happy being here and feel that this is a good Guard community and they want to continue to be here in a substantial way, she said.
“It’s been a long-term relationship that has been really strong, and we want to take that next step with Guard and move forward.”
Schelkoph said that building the new site here will add about 10 or 15 more jobs in the area. He said that the Guard’s presence in the community provides long term protection and stability citing their helpfulness with past floods.