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This month, Mayor McFarland, several Councilmembers, and city staff toured the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Tumwater to learn more about what an active, functioning Readiness Center looks like, and how it could work in North Bend.
In 2019, the Washington State Army National Guard began plans to create a Readiness Center in North Bend, at 468th Avenue SE. The project is expected to generate the need for more amenities at the east end of town and provide community use of portions of the center. In addition, the center will be equipped to assist in the event of community-wide emergencies.
National Guard officials leading the Tumwater tour shared that a North Bend Readiness Center would be similar in look and feel to the Tumwater Readiness Center. North Bend’s center would feature a variety of multipurpose rooms both large and small, conference rooms, indoor and outdoor seating, potential rain gardens and other natural landscaping, along with ample parking - all available for community use. Also similar to Tumwater, military equipment would be stored away from view in a protected area. It was emphasized that firing equipment would never be discharged at the center.
The purpose of a Washington State Readiness Center is to provide cost and operationally-efficient, specialized training for the Washington Army National Guard. Centers house training, administrative, storage space, and importantly, provide support for public and community groups. Officials commented that the goal of those working at these Readiness Centers is to be a citizen soldier; to be part of the community, and to share their space with the community.
While staff is currently working with the Army National Guard Readiness Center applicants, bringing a center to North Bend will take time. The City has not yet received a formal project application. Property owner, Puget Western, is proceeding with a temporary Laydown Construction Yard that supports a regional utility project in the interim, anticipating that use for two years. A subsequent short plat by Puget Western and the Army National Guard project will require the preparation of a master plan for further development of this area.
Learn more about the Washington Army National Guard by visiting www.mil.wa.gov/national-guard. Curious about current and proposed development projects in North Bend? Check out the North Bend Development Projects map.