Jackson County Supervisor Wants Public Feedback On Proposed National Guard Readiness Center

Before any construction begins in Jackson County, Supervisor Frank Leach wants everybody with an opinion to come out to talk about the proposed 33 thousand square foot National Guard facility in St. Martin.

"Just because I am excited I do not want that to override potentially what the questions may be from the population and constituencies in that area," Leach says.

If approved, the center will be located on 22 acres of land near St. Martin Community Center. The National Guard also wants to build a second facility on 18 acers near the Trent Lott Airport in Moss Point.

"This is a replacement of the Armory in Ocean Springs, and this is a further replacement of the Armory in Pascagoula," Leach says.

And Jackson County won't have to open their wallets, because both facilities will be federally funded.

"As far as the structure that will be all the Guard responsibility, and actually my understanding is it will be a long term lease of the property for their utilization, and ultimately it will be returned to the tax payers of Jackson County," says Leach.

By building the facility in St. Martin and in Moss Point Leach says the location could  protect the centers in case of another storm and help the National Guard respond faster if a disaster strikes.

"By removing National Guard Facility away from the water, they have fairly close access to the Interstate 10," says Leach. "I think there can be some real benefits here as far as them being able to be here and be responsive when they are needed to be."

Leach says hopefully the people of Jackson County will agree. The St. Martin facility will serve both Ocean Springs and Biloxi. According to National Guard Representatives, the sites will bring about 15 hundred troops to the area full time.

To hear more about the centers you can attend the public meeting Thursday night at the St. Martin Community Center. The meeting begins at 7pm.