The Iowa National Guard has announced plans to close the Algona Readiness Center in the spring of 2017. Guard spokesman, Colonel Greg Hapgood, says federal officials periodically review all units and facilities to see if they meet the ongoing mission.
“In order to be efficient sometimes that means closing armories and consolidating units. In this particular case, that’s exactly what happened,” Hapgood says, ” the military unit that’s stationed in Algona — which is called Battery B, First Battalion, 194th Field Artillery — has been moved to Camp Dodge and because of that, the Algona armory will be closed.” Hapgood says the unit has around 90 soldiers, and says only one lived in Algona and two others lived in Kossuth County.
“The vast majority of those soldiers do travel some distance to drill at the Algona armory. So actually moving the unit to Camp Dodge will actually make some of the travel for those soldiers shorter in duration,” Hapgood says. The Algona facility in use now was built in 1994 and is more than 20-thousand square feet. Colonel Hapgood says the future of facilities that are closed by the Iowa Guard depends on the terms of the agreement when they were built.
“In this particular case the transfer documents have reversionary language — which means that the armory and the land will revert back to the city of Algona — so that building and land will be for the City of Algona’s use for however they see fit,” Hapgood explains. The Iowa National Guard has consolidated units and closed armories over the past 16 years in Sioux Center, Villisca, Mapleton, Atlantic, Clarinda, Glenwood, Hampton, Jefferson, Chariton, Newton, Eagle Grove and Centerville.
“We’ve seen armories that have been repurposed for all kinds of things,” according to Hapgood. “And it’s great to see that facility stay in the community and let the community get some use out of it.” The closing of the Algona facility will bring to an end a long association with the city.
“The Iowa National Guard has had a unit in Algona since 1889. And we’ve had a long relationship with Algona, it’s a tremendous community. We are very, very appreciative of all the support that we’ve gotten from Algona over the years,” Hapgood says. “Those units over the past nearly 130 years in Algona have mobilized for natural disasters, peacekeeping missions, the Korean War, for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we couldn’t be prouder of the relationship that we’ve had with Algona.”
Iowa National Guard personnel and property will move from the facility within 180 days after its closure, and the Readiness Center will be transferred to the city of Algona for its use.