The Defense Department’s three manufacturing arsenals would regain the authority to offer long-term leases for excess space to the private sector, under bipartisan legislation introduced last week in the Senate.
The Arsenal Installation Reutilization Authority would allow the arsenals — Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.; Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark.; and Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y. — to approve 25-year leases until September 2019, generating jobs and income until 2044, according to a news release issued by the office of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Ernst introduced the legislation along with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
The arsenals’ long-term leasing authority expired in 2012.
Under the measure, the arsenals would be able to offer excess space to outside tenants through leases or contracts if they:
- help maintain the viability of manufacturing arsenals and any military installations on which they are located;
- eliminate or reduce the cost of government ownership of the arsenals, including the cost of operations and maintenance, environmental remediation or other costs; and
- leverage private investment at arsenals through long-term facility use contracts, property management contracts, leases or other agreements.
“Authorizing the continuation of this leasing authority allows otherwise unused space to generate income for the arsenal and reduces cost of government ownership,” Ernst said. “In addition, permitting tenants to lease at the arsenal brings businesses and job opportunities to the Quad Cities communities.”
Grassley said the legislation, lawmakers’ other efforts to increase workload at Rock Island and “the impressive logistics capabilities of commands like Army Sustainment Command and Joint Munitions Command” would help ensure the long-term viability of Rock Island.