U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today was presented with the Association of Defense Communities’ (ADC) Congressional Leadership award for his efforts to create jobs and economic opportunity following the closure of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant (KSAAP).
“I am honored to receive this award. I want to thank Ann Charles of the Great Plains Development Authority and the team she assembled to ensure the redevelopment of the KSAAP would benefit the region for generations to come,” Roberts said. “It was a seven year battle with two administrations, the Army and the EPA, but in the end, we have a new industrial park which will provide growth and opportunities for Parsons, Labette County and beyond.”
Roberts was joined at a special Capitol Hill ceremony by John Armbrust, Executive Director of the Kansas Governor’s Military Council and Immediate Past President of ADC; and Ann Charles, Deputy Director of the Great Plains Development Authority in Parsons, Kan., and a member of the ADC Board of Directors.
“Sen. Roberts has never stopped fighting for defense communities in Kansas, including taking on a seven-year battle to redevelop the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant to bring jobs back to rural Labette County,” ADC President Bob Murdock said. “Roberts’ tireless and successful efforts in that fight have earned him ADC’s inaugural Congressional Leadership Award.”
The Kansas Army Ammunition Plant in Parsons, Kansas was slated for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in 2005. It was expected to be one of the first properties to transfer over to the community. In the end, it took seven years.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to make Kansas a national example on its regulations for pesticides and lead-based paint. Senator Roberts’ letters, phone calls and meetings forced the EPA to back down.
The Army then stalled their transfer and contract negotiations with a portion of the property set for Day and Zimmermann, the on-site ammunition manufacturers. Roberts again ended this stalemate through numerous meetings with the Kansas congressional delegation, letters, and phone calls, including reaching out personally to then Secretary of the Army, John McHugh.
Following the transfer of the site, Senator Roberts attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Great Plains Industrial Park in October of 2012.
The Association of Defense Communities is the nation’s premier membership organization serving America’s defense communities. ADC represents 200 communities, states and regions with a significant military presence, and partner organizations. ADC unites the diverse interests of communities, state governments, the private sector and the military on issues of base closure and realignment, community-military partnerships, defense real estate, mission growth, mission sustainment, military privatization, military families/veteran support and base redevelopment.