New armory in works for Monticello

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 15, 2002

MONTICELLO — Under a new long range plan developed by theMississippi National Guard, the town is expected to receive a newarmory within 2-4 years.

The Guard’s Long Range Construction Plan (LRCP), recentlyapproved by Mississippi Adjutant General James H. Lipscomb III andthe state legislature, calls for an $8 million armory for the 106thSupport Battalion.

Lipscomb estimates the armory will be funded by $5,718,000 infederal monies and $2,230,000 in state monies.

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There are presently 78 armory projects listed on the plan. Thegeneral has given the Monticello armory a higher priority thanpreviously and moved it to number seven on list. Four of those havealready been built and a fifth, in Kosciusko, is in the process ofbeing constructed, he said.

“Due to previous commitments, the only two armories that willhave higher priority will be Clarksdale and Pascagoula,” Lipscombsaid.

Senator Trent Lott said the armory construction is tentativelyset for 2006.

“I can assure you I will do everything I can to speed thisMonticello Armory project along,” Lipscomb said, adding that theproject must be approved by the National Guard Bureau and added tothe Future Years Defense Plan before funds can be allocated.

The location of the new armory is still undetermined, accordingto Paul McLain, director of the Lawrence County CommunityDevelopment Association.

“In all probability it will be built in a different spot,” hesaid. “The existing facility may be of future use to the county orfor industrial development. But that’s all very unclear rightnow.”

There has been talk of trying to get a new armory for years,McLain said, but it wasn’t until recently that it became feasiblefor the National Guard.

County officials learned earlier this year that the Guard wascompiling a new LRCP for new armories across the state.

“When we learned this,” McLain said, “our state legislatordelegation all became involved in talks with the MilitaryDepartment and Senator Trent Lott.”

Local officials also became active in promoting a letter writingand telephone campaign to Lipscomb and the governor, McLainsaid.

“Annually the board of supervisors give the Guard $4,000 and thetown of Monticello gives $4,200,” McLain said. “In addition, thetown provides the Guard with many services. That was a factor inthe decision.”

It was these efforts and the support of officials and residentsin the past that prompted the priority change, Lipscomb said.

“Thank you citizens of Monticello, Lawrence County and theentire area for your tremendous support of the Mississippi NationalGuard,” the general said. “Your annual stipends of $8,200, alongwith free water, sewer, garbage and the use of Atwood Water Parkspeaks loud and clear of your support. I agree with you that the106th has been the best locally supported unit in the state, and wesincerely appreciate your support.”