SANFORD, Fla. -- An $8 million Army Reserve center is going up and is expected to be completed by spring 2013, bringing the military back into the Sanford community.
The 81st Regional Support Command, based at Fort Jackson, S.C., hosted the groundbreaking ceremony, which brought representatives from throughout the Sanford community and the Army Reserve.
Brig. Gen. William J. Gothard, Deputy Commander of the 81st RSC, welcomed the guests during a day that was gloomy but marked not just the beginning of the construction project but the development of a long lasting friendship.
"This facility is very meaningful to the Army Reserve as it is to the community and state of Florida," said Gothard. The General reflected back to the time during his first Army Reserve assignment, which was twenty years ago and his unit was housed in World War II barracks with minimal upkeep.
Gothard thanked Florida Congressman John Mica for the work that Congress as done for the last 10 years. "We have made unbelievable strides forward for the Soldiers who are out here doing the nation's business everyday and this facility will be one of those examples of a modern state of the art facility that our soldiers deserve and the American public deserves the Army to be in."
The future home will belong to the 81st Trailer Transfer Detachment, Port Management Detachment and the 436th Civil Affairs Battalion. The Sanford community is excited and preparing their community for their future neighbors.
"We promise to the City of Sanford that we will be good neighbors, I just ask that you take care of my Soldiers," said Gothard.
The Congressman and Vice Mayor Patty Mahany spoke individually both reassuring Brig. Gen. Gothard that his Soldiers will be well taken care of. "General you don't need to worry about the community embracing the military. The congressman will tell you this is a military town," said Vice Mayor Mahany.
"I don't know if you know this but you're currently standing on sacred ground dating back to 1942," said Mahany. The Vice Mayor gave a brief history lesson on the Naval Air Station Sanford which existed for 25 years in the Stanford community and played major roles in World War II, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam conflict. Out of these conflicts Sanford had nine Prisoners of War. This brought the community together to support all military families and soldiers during their deployments.
"This is a town who understands the military, appreciates, embraces, and loves the military and we are so excited to have you back," said Mahany.
The Army Reserve leaders and several Sanford community leaders used 5 gold-painted shovels to break ground during the ceremony, leading the way for a new training building, maintenance facility and a storage building totaling more than 31, 030 square feet on the 18-acre site.