CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Cape Coral and military officials broke ground Saturday on a new Army Reserve Center.
With golden shovels in hand, officials moved the first piles of dirt.
The $13 million facility sits on 15 acres directly across from the new VA Hospital on Corbett Road.
LTC Patick Briley with the 81st Regional Support Command says, "it takes 10 years to do this program and get it through Congress, so we finally have an Army Reserve presence in Southwest Florida."
He says the 81st Regional Support Command will bring the 451st Quartermaster Company and the 365th Engineer Company to occupy the facility, in addition to two already active companies in Cape Coral.
He says, "we're talking about 10 to 15 full time soldiers and civilians working here and then almost every weekend, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be something going on here with one of the units." That means a total of about 325 soldiers will work and train at the almost 40 thousand square foot Reserve Center.
For Chamber of Commerce President Mike Quaintance, that means another economic boost for Cape Coral. "I think it's a catalyst for future development. You're going to see support businesses develop around here, hotels, restaurants, retail. I think it's just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg."
It is called the Cape Coral Army Reserve Center for now, but LTC Briley hopes it will have a more meaningful name once the center opens. "Cape Coral and Fort Myers, I know that they've lost some key members, some sons and daughters. And we think it's the right thing to do memorialize this center for a fallen soldier from Cape Coral. It gives us more buy-in with the community." Our soldiers are a part of Cape Coral, we are the citizens of Cape Coral."
The center plans to work with the new VA hospital on several projects.
Officials expect to hold a ribbon cutting in September 2013.
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