The Army Base project has been ongoing for many years. The Army Base was deeded to the city in 2003. It comprises 28 riverfront acres and included several abandoned structures in poor condition. The deed stipulates that the property be used for recreational purposes. The definition of recreational purposes is broad and includes passive open spaces for public use, sports fields, community center as well as commercial uses such as lodging facilities, restaurants, and public research facilities. The Army Base steering committee has pursued the research facility concept and over the years has been successful in obtaining the necessary approvals for an Estuarine Research Station. This station would include both State and Federal research facilities. To date, no funding by state or federal agencies has been committed to this project. Presently, it appears that any Federal funding will be a long time coming and that may be true for the state as well since all government agencies are facing financial shortfalls due to Covid-19.
While the research station takes up a major portion of the property, there are still areas that can be developed for recreational and commercial uses. I will advocate exploring these options as well as continue to lobby both state and federal representatives and agencies for the funding necessary to build the planned research facilities.