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STATEMENT OF HON. CLEVELAND M. BAILEY, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA Mr. BAILEY. Mr. Chairman and gentleman of the committee, I appreciate this opportunity to testify in order that I may have a chance to discuss with you an emergency that has developed in the National Guard armory program in my State of West Virginia.
The authorization contained in the legislation coming from the House Committee on Armed Services for the fiscal year 1961 includes new armories for Montgomery, Hinton, Elkins, and Spencer.
This leaves only three projects to complete the West Virginia program of National Guard armories. An emergency has arisen which I want to discuss with your committee today with the thought that you will recommend including authorization for an armory in the capital city at Charleston, W. Va., in the Senate version of the military construction bill. The emergency mentioned above is outlined in a communication I have before me from the adjutant general's office of the State of West Virginia concerning the armory installation planned for Charleston. I shall recap the contents of this letter and enumerate the emergency angle and then ask to have the letter submitted as a part of the record.
The present armory quarters in Charleston are in a building owned by the American Legion. The Government has occupied these quarters since 1924. Since the guard was recognized in 1946, following World War II, and continuing to the present time, the Government has paid $550 monthly rent, with $75 a month additional for janitor service, making a total of $625 a month. Over the past 14 years, they have paid over $65,000 in rent.
Six months ago, the American Legion began extensive repairs on this building and recently served notice on the Government, through the State guard officials, that from now on the rental would be $675 monthly instead of $550.
The new rent proposal restricts the guard to access to the building only 4 nights each week, and at no time do they occupy any part of the second floor. They are also denied the privilege of bringing automobiles and other vehicles on the Legion lot.
In face of these restrictions and attempted rent gouging, the adjutant general refused to accept the Legion's rent proposal and has temporarily secured the use of a building on Government-owned property at the South Charleston, W. Va., Naval Armor Plant. Since this building has been turned over by the Navy to the General Services Administration for sale as of June 30, 1961, their new quarters are available for approximately 1 year, and the construction of a new armory becomes immediate and necessary.
It might be well to call the attention of the committee to the fact that, in addition to paying an enormous rent on the American Legion property, the Government also for the use of the guard rents office and drill space for State headquarters detachment and for the senior Army adviser in another building in the city of Charleston. The organizational maintenance shop for the first squadron and regional and State headquarters unit is being provided in still another building. The State adjutant general has crowded quarters in the State capitol and a new armory building would eliminate these heavy rental
charges and provide adequate space by putting all of these several activities under one roof.
The Federal funds for matching State funds to cover the cost of this construction would be a maximum of $250,000. State funds are presently available and should your committee, in its wisdom, choose to include this Charleston Armory facility in the present authorization bill, it would be possible to begin construction of the new facility at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, which would insure its completion for occupancy at the end of the temporary arrangements made with the Government for housing the armory in the Government-owned naval armor plant.
May I, in closing, call the attention of the members of the committee to the fact that West Virginia's unemployment situation is a serious one and the Charleston area, where this armory would be erected, has an extremely high unemployment rate. Building this project at the present time would provide jobs for some of the many thousands of unemployed people in the area.
Let me again thank the committee for its courtesy in hearing me. I am sure our West Virginia Senators will be making the same request, and I want to thank you in advance for an early and favorable decision on this matter.
At this time, Mr. Chairman, may I submit for inclusion in the committee record the letter I have received from the State adjutant general's office confirming the situation as I have just described it.
Senator STENNIS. Without objection, the matter will be inserted in the record. (The document referred to follows:)
LIVELY, LIGHT & FRANCIS,
Charleston, W. Va., March 8, 1960. Hon. CLEVELAND M. BAILEY, Member, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CLEVE: Since I talked with you a week ago, we have experienced a rather serious turn of events with regard to the Charleston Armory.
As you know, the Charleston Armory is rented from the local American Legion post. We pay $550 a month rent, $75 a month for janitorial service, and onehalf of the utilities. We have had the use of the entire building, but the post has always used it on Monday nights for wrestling matches and at other times for other special events. The facilities have been highly inadequate, the building being dirty and dingy, the floor poorly kept, and the janitorial service improperly performed. Toilets were unsanitary and the building has been condemned several times by the health department and the building inspector. We have been after the trustees of the post for some time to renovate the building. They have stalled us off for almost a year.
This last week, however, they suddenly began renovation work on the premises and then confronted us with the proposition that we would no longer have the use of the second floor and that our use of the first floor would be confined to 4 nights a week. The same amount of rent is to be charged for the reduced facilities, and the janitorial fee is to be raised to $150 per month. Not only does the new proposition increase our cost materially, but it crowds the administrative and supply facilities of the unit into an inadequate amount of space on the first floor, takes away all classroom and lockerroom space, and makes it impossible to have multiple drills over the weekends as required by NGB and CONNARC directives.
General Blake has refused to knuckle down to the American Legion demands and has immediately started a search for new quarters for the unit. The Navy has offered us one of its buildings at the naval ordnance plant in South Charleston, which can be done over to provide temporary quarters for a year or 18 months. The necessary requests for the release of this space to the National Guard have been started through channels and everyone is pushing the matter to get it resolved as quickly as possible.
This is only a temporary solution, however, and the problem of construction of an armory becomes an immediate one. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to ask you to investigate and see if there is any possibility of getting the Charleston Armory added to the authorization and appropriation bills for fiscal year 1961 which are now pending before Congress. The amount of the Federal share of the cost of construction would be $250,000.
In addition to Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, which has been using the American Legion Armory, the adjutant general also rents office and drill space for State headquarters detachment and for the senior Army adviser in another building in Charleston, and the organizational maintenance shop for the 1st Squadron and regimental and State headquarters unit is being operated in still a third building in Charleston. It is planned to combine all of these activities in one armory, so that the armory would house headquarters troop, 1st Squadron; the squadron headquarters ; State headquarters detachment; the State headquarters; and the office of the senior Army adviser. In addition, facilities will be added at State expense for the adjutant general's office, thus relinquishing space now occupied in the State Capitol.
An adequate site is available for this armory near Coonskin Park and the State money is available through the sale of armory board revenue bonds. If we start our work on the plans and specifications at this time, the project can be under contract within 60 days of the release of the Federal appropriations.
This situation has been discussed with Colonel Kibler at the National Guard Bureau and he has indicated that he will go along and help with whatever he can do. He has been in the Charleston Armory, knows its condition, and agrees with the action which has been taken by General Blake.
I believe this is almost an emergency situation, and hope you will be able to get the project included in the military construction bill and the appropriation bill now pending before Congress. Sincerely yours,
J. HENRY FRANCIS, Jr.,
Army Program Coordinator. Senator STENNIS. Congressman, we certainly thank you for coming over here. You have a very clear and forceful statement and we will give this the utmost consideration. We have not formulated any program yet as to what we will do about these matters outside the
And I cannot indicate anything to you now.
Senator STENNIS. We will hear from Mr. Slack, a Representative in Congress from the State of West Virginia. STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. SLACK, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA Mr. SLACK. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I wish to express, first of all, my gratitude for the opportunity to present my views and to call your attention to a particularly critical situation which exists in my home city of Charleston, W. Va., in relation to the armory program. It is a situation which, I believe, calls for some immediate action; it is one of those circumstances in which an expenditure of funds now will save money in the long run. The truth of the matter is that the Charleston Armory, as such, does not exist. Armory quarters have been rented from the local American Legion post. This condition has existed for some time, but recent developments have changed the entire character of the situation and are the reasons for my request to bring the matter to your attention at this time.
The National Guard in the city of Charleston has been paying $550 a month rental, plus $75 a month for janitorial services and one-half of the cost of the utilities in a building owned by the American Legion. In return, the guard has had the use of the entire building, except that the American Legion post has reserved the right to use the building regularly on Monday nights for wrestling matches, and at certain times for special events. The physical facilities available to the guard in this structure have been wholly inadequate. The building is dirty and poorly maintained. The sanitary facilities leave a great deal to be desired and on several occasions there have been writs of condemnation issued against the structure by the city health department and the city building inspector. The guard has been attempting to interest the owners of the building in a renovation program, but they have refused to take action for over a year. Early in March, the owners suddenly began to renovate the premises and then advised the guard that it could no longer have use of the second floor and that use of the first floor would be confined to four nights a week. For these reduced facilities, the same rental would be charged but the janitorial fee would be increased to $150 per month.
These new conditions increase the cost of guard operations materially but even more importantly, they create very crowded conditions in our administrative and supply areas, and take away all classroom and locker room space. As a result, it is impossible to have multiple drills over the weekends as required by NGB and CONNARC directives.
Immediately after this advice was received from the building owners, Adjutant General Blake, of West Virginia, refused to agree to the new terms and began a search for other quarters for the unit. The possibility exists that the guard in the Charleston area will be able to use a structure owned by the Navy in South Charleston for a year or 18 months and a request for the release of this space to the guard has been started through channels. At best, however, this is only a temporary solution and we are still faced with the necessity of obtaining permanent quarters.
In addition to Headquarters Troop, First Squadron, which has been using the American Legion Armory, the adjutant general also rents office and drill space for State headquarters detachment and for the senior Army adviser in another building in Charleston, and the organizational maintenance shop for the first squadron and regimental and State headquarters unit is being operated in still a third building in Charleston. It is planned to combine all of these activities in one armory, so that the armory would house Headquarters Troop, First Squadron; the squadron headquarters; State headquarters detachment; the State headquarters; and the office of the senior Army adviser. In addition, facilities will be added at State expense for the adjutant general's office, thus relinquishing space now occupied in the State capitol.
An adequate site is available for this armory near Coonskin Park and the State money is available through the sale of Armory Board revenue bonds. If we start our work on the plans and specifications at this time, the project can be under contract within 60 days of the release of the Federal appropriations.
Responsible officers at the National Guard Bureau are familiar with the situation in Charleston and aware of the conditions under which the guard has been operating. They are in agreement with the action taken by Adjutant General Blake and have indicated that they will cooperate in any way possible to obtain a permanent improvement of the situation. For this reason, I feel that what is now an emergency situation can be transformed into a stabilized condition for the benefit of all concerned and, at the same time, save money in the long run if an authorization for the construction of an armory in Charleston can be included in pending legislation for the fiscal year 1961. The estimated amount of the Federal share of the cost of construction of this building would be $250,000.
I ask you, therefore, to find favor with this request and I can assure you that authorization of this new armory will redound to the benefit of all parties concerned, will meet with strong local approval and will immeasurably strengthen the position of the guard in the Charleston area and the State of West Virginia in general.
Senator STENNIS. Thank you, Congressman Slack, for being here with us.
Mr. SLACK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator STENNIS. May we ask Senator Carlson what his pleasure is here?
Senator, are you ready to testify now? We are going into something that may take a good while is the reason I bring that up.
Senator CARLSON. Mr. Chairman, if you will give me 3 minutes, that would be satisfactory.
Senator STENNIS. All right. Without objection then, we will proceed to hear the Senator for a few minutes.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK CARLSON, A MEMBER OF THE U.S.
SENATE FROM THE STATE OF KANSAS Senator CARLSON. Mr. Chairman, I am appearing in behalf of a new bridge at Fort Riley, Kans. The situation is this: There was a bridge constructed there many years ago that was a one-way traffic bridge.
In the earlier days, it did not make much difference because a great section of this area where this bridge reached was a meadow, and about all they used it for was to put up hay.
Since that time, Marshall Field Air Field has been established at this particular place. They have an airport there; they have large runways, they have a helicopter training school there and this bridge which services this airport in connection with the main base, the operational facilities of Fort Riley, Kans., is a one-way bridge, rather lengthy over the Smokey Hill River, Kansas River, and when you cross it, you wait for a light to change.
I crossed it 2 weeks ago and so I am familiar with it. It is a bridge that needs replacement with, at least, a new four-lane bridge.
Last year Interstate Highway 70, which borders on the south edge of Fort Riley, Kans., was constructed through that area. They built