KEYSER, W.Va. – Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, issued the following statement today after learning the West Virginia National Guard will close its Keyser armory and transfer its units stationed there to the new Morgantown Readiness Center.
“I’m extremely disappointed the National Guard has chosen to close this facility and transfer its personnel to Morgantown,” Howell said.
“Mineral County is the largest county in this part of the state, and it’s very important for us to have a unit stationed here for security and emergency response purposes,” Howell said. “Being on the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountains, and sitting some distance away from Morgantown, it would put us at a disadvantage should some type of disaster occur, as Guard personnel would have to travel through Maryland to respond to any crisis.”
Potomac State College of West Virginia University officials have discussed the possibility of purchasing the Keyser armory facility. Howell, chairman of the House Government Organization Committee, said he would support that purchase, but would like to find some way to also keep National Guard units stationed in the area.
“If Potomac State acquires the property, I am optimistic that their expansion will bring more jobs and revenue to the local economy,” Howell said. “However, I will remain committed to finding a way to bring a Guard unit back to this area.”