A new round of U.S. military base closings will be announced in mid-May, raising concerns in the Davenport area that the Rock Island Arsenal could be on Uncle Sam’s chopping block. The Arsenal is located on a large island in the Mississippi River between Davenport and Rock Island. Thom Hart, of the Quad City Development Group, says the Arsenal employs 65-hundred people.That’s the area’s second-largest employer behind only Deere. Hart, a former mayor of Davenport, says the Arsenal has been threatened with closure before and the community has worked hard to strengthen the facility. He says the Base Closure and Realignment Commission is scheduled to make its announcement between May 12th and 15th. He says “We’re nervous. No one can predict how we’ll fare in the new round. We may see the entire island close, although that’s doubtful.” Hart says the average salary at the Arsenal is 51-thousand dollars a year. The Arsenal has been touted as the largest manufacturer of conventional weapons in the world. Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle has requested that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spare the Arsenal.
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