MIDDLETOWN, Iowa -- In an effort to promote potential commercial development, the Project Director Joint Services and Joint Munitions Command ARMS Team hosted a site visit at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, to obtain site certification and highlight the rail trans-loading, warehousing, manufacturing and logistics facilities, here, January 11 and 12.

Lacy Kreger, Assistant Manager, Economic Development, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company and David Toyer, Director of Economic Development, Greater Burlington Partnership, were among the guests, who reviewed building and railroad infrastructure for potential ARMS facility use on the ammo plant.

Debbie Hookway, Project Officer, Plans, Programs & Policy, Office of PD Joint Services Picatinny Arsenal, Picatinny,New Jersey, provided guidance and information during the tour to highlight the ARMS Program.

"Being recognized by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail Railroad as a certified site that can accommodate their rail customers is a major achievement for the ARMS program, IAAAP and the U.S. Army," said Hookway.

The BNSF program, which was launched in March 2016, allows certified sites to use the "BNSF Certified Sites" distinction in marketing materials to attract new businesses. BNSF actively markets and promotes the sites to the economic development industry across the country, according to a recent BNSF press release.

"One of the ways BNSF works to ensure the right solution is offered to each customer is by scouting potential sites for development in advance of customer inquiries," said Colby Tanner, assistant vice president, Economic Development, BNSF. "By doing the upfront leg work to confirm a site is rail-served and shovel-ready, BNSF's Site Certification Program creates significant value for customers by accelerating the process needed to support customer growth and development."

The Commerce Center of Southeast Iowa is 153 acres located within the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Middletown, Iowa. The site has received certification as part of BNSF Railway's Certification Site program. BNSF certification ensures a site is ready for rapid development through a comprehensive evaluation of existing and projected infrastructure, environmental and geotechnical standards, utility evaluation and site availability. Benefits of a certified site provides businesses with reduced development time, increased speed to markets, and reduces upfront development risk of rail-served industrial development. The site provides access to over 100 miles of track and several storage yards which link directly to the BNSF mainline that extends westward from Burlington to Mount Pleasant, Iowa and eventually Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. Adjacent to the 153 acres are more than 30 available warehouse buildings with over 25,000 square feet each.

"Through this process we have gained a great partner in BNSF and proven that the Commerce
Center of Southeast Iowa has significant value for warehousing, logistics, and manufacturing companies," added Hookway. "Preparing the documentation for the State of Iowa certification, as well as the BNSF certification, has been a long process, but with our partners, American Ordnance, the Greater Burlington Partnership, BNSF, and Alliant Energy, we are close to landing a tenant that will be transformative for IAAAP and the local community. We are excited at the potential opportunities this partnership will bring to IAAAP and the greater Burlington area."

The ARMS Program rents government-owned land for industrial, commercial, and office development, as well as buildings and infrastructure to private businesses. The ARMS program was established by Congress in 1993 to encourage the commercial use of underutilized property at select installations. Currently, six ammunition installations managed by JMC participate in the program -- Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Milan Army Ammunition Plant, Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Radford Army Ammunition Plant, and Hawthorne Army Depot.

The ARMS Program helps reduce each installations' operating costs. In addition, it creates new jobs and compensates for reduced government production that would negatively impact the local communities. In Fiscal Year 2015, the Army saved $12 million and created 1,839 jobs. Since its inception in 1993, the program has generated $558.4 million in cost savings.