Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, NY-28, said she would do everything possible to make the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station a crown jewel of the U.S. Air Force, as she joined with Air Force personnel and other local leaders breaking ground on the Community Activities Center on Monday, June 21.
The $9.8 million Community Activities Center will house a dining hall with seating for 500 troops and create space for additional leadership functions at the Reserve Station. It will replace two existing buildings, the Falcon Club and NFARS Dining Facility.
Slaughter secured $9 million in the FY 2009 Appropriations Bill for the Center. Since 2005, she has helped bring more than $74 million to the base.
"As the largest employer in Niagara Country, the Niagara Air Base is not only critical to our national security, but vital to the economic well-being of the region. Every dollar that we invest into the facility translates into more jobs and economic opportunity for Western New York," said Slaughter. "I have been committed to bringing more federal dollars to the base and continuing to strengthen its position within the Armed Forces. I believe we're well on our way to becoming an indispensable base within the armed services, and the crown jewel of the Air Force."
The Community Activities Center will provide increased processing and feeding of troops as well as offer base leadership with an improved area for commander's calls, promotion and retirement ceremonies, and staff meetings. The estimated completion date for this joint use facility is August 2011 and will be open to all military members, retirees, federal, state and local agencies.
"The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is truly becoming a joint service installation where other military and federal agencies are combining their services and being good stewards of the taxpayer's dollars," said Col. Allan Swartzmiller, 914th Airlift Wing commander.
Earlier this month Slaughter met with officials from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station where they discussed an additional $9.5 million authorization in the National Defense Authorization Act which will go towards the design and planning of a joint operations center.
In 2005, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station was removed from the BRAC list, ensuring its short-term survival. Slaughter worked to keep the base open at the time in order to protect local jobs and preserve a valuable military asset. The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is the largest employer in Niagara County.The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Center is home to the 914th and 107th airlift wings.