A bill signed by President Trump just before Christmas includes $21 million for a new Army Reserve Center in Newark.
The $43.9 billion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act had the support of Delaware’s Congressional delegation, who applauded the bill’s passage and endorsement into law by the president. The legislation also includes $28 million for upgrades to the Army’s heavy lift Chinook helicopter manufactured at the Boeing plant in nearby Ridley Park, Pennsylvania employing “hundreds” of Delawareans.
The new Army Reserve Center in Newark will serve as a modern training facility for Delaware’s Reservists and will be constructed next to the current reserve center it will replace on Ogletown Road. Its centerpiece will be a 33,000 square-foot reserve center with a maintenance shop and storage facility.
More than 300 reservists will be supported by the new center, which the delegation pointed out is “located right off the I-95 corridor, providing a convenient location for drilling and recruitment.” It is expected to be completed in 2023.
Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and US Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester all hailed the funding windfall for Delaware’s reservists.
“One of our most serious responsibilities is to ensure that our troops have the resources necessary to help keep our country and our citizens safe,” said Senator Carper, himself a 23-year veteran of the US Navy and Naval Reserves.
While hailing the legislation’s passage, Rochester said she was disappointed the Defense authorization did not include “a comprehensive set of protections from PFAS contamination.” Rochester said drinking water well contamination with polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) near the Dover Air Force base and elsewhere signaled “a public health crisis from PFAS in Delaware.”
“We’ve seen the urgency and severity of this problem in Blades, New Castle, and at the Dover Air Force Base. The NDAA was an important opportunity to address this crisis and I’m disappointed Congress chose not to take advantage of it.”