In an article last week on the National Guard seeking a site in Loudoun County, a word was dropped from a quotation by Loudoun Supervisor Ann Kavanagh. The statement should have said, "The National Guard has not threatened to pull out of Loudoun if we don't come up with more land by Aug. 22."
Pentagon officials refused last week to sign an agreement between the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Virginia National Guard for a 2.7-acre site the county donated to the guard. They said the site is not big enough to accommodate a 20,000-square-foot armory.
According to chairman Frank Raflo, Pentagon officials told the county that at least 4.75 acres are required for the site. County officials have asked Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) to intervene before the guard's Aug. 22 deadline, after which the National Guard will lose its 1987 fiscal year funding for the project. If that happens, the project and the funds will be held up until 1988, the supervisors said. According to Raflo, Warner has promised to work for a compromise with the Pentagon.
County officials were first approached by the Virginia National Guard about a land donation in January. "They said acquiring an armory in Leesburg was their No. 1 priority for this year," a county spokesman said. At that time they asked for between 2 and 2.5 acres. On July 17 the Board of Supervisors approved a 50-year lease allowing the agency to build an armory on land the county owns near the Leesburg airport east of Sycolin Drive. Other plans for the 90-acre tract include school bus maintenance facilities, warehouses and a fire and rescue training center.
National Guard Lt. Hal James, who made the request, has said that as an engineer he saw no need to ask for more than 2.5 acres for the armory. Raflo said it would be a "waste of public money" to use more land than is needed.
"It's a bureaucratic decision by the Pentagon that has little to do with reality," Supervisor Ann Kavanagh said. "At $10,000 an acre I doubt the board will be willing to give up more land."
The county would like to have the armory located in Leesburg, Kavanagh said, because of the "patriotic feeling" in the county and because it would give residents "another place to hold social events and maybe bring in some tourist dollars" if families follow the men who would train there for two weeks a year. "We were pleased when they wanted to locate here and we are disappointed at the glitch," she said.
Although the Pentagon letter noted that some localities have donated up to 15 acres for an armory site, land in the areas mentioned -- such as Lynchburg and South Boston -- is not as expensive as Loudoun land, county officials said.
"The National Guard has threatened to pull out of Loudoun if we don't come up with more land by Aug. 22, but I suppose it could be a concern," Kavanagh said.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled Aug. 21, one day before the National Guard deadline.