Los Angeles District Commander Col. Julie Balten led a team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review several military and civil works project sites Mar. 14-17 in Arizona.
During the visit, the district met with military commanders and city leaders in Arizona to discuss future projects and promote the district’s engineering and construction capabilities for upcoming projects.
“The Los Angeles District is dedicated to delivering safe and quality projects to our Arizona partners and stakeholders,” Balten said. “This includes visiting with military commanders and city officials to understand their future needs. The entire State of Arizona is a very important part of the district’s footprint in the Southwest, and we are committed to supporting their engineering and construction needs.”
The LA District supports the public and military in Arizona with a wide variety of projects and planning, engineering, construction and environmental services. Projects include flood-risk management, navigation, recreation, and infrastructure and environmental stewardship.
The site visits began in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Balten and Fort Huachuca Garrison Commander Col. Johnny Ives discussed current and future construction projects on the installation. The colonels also discussed maintaining projects in a safe environment.
“Safely delivering quality projects is our number one priority,” Balten said.
The district team also met with the Fort Huachuca Department of Public Works. One of the projects discussed, the Ground Transport Equipment building, will create additional vehicle storage on the installation.
According to Fort Huachuca’s Army homepage, the installation is the largest employer in Cochise County and the largest (single) economic contributor in Arizona. The Arizona Commerce Authority website states that Fort Huachuca accounts for an annual economic impact of $2.4 billion for the State of Arizona.
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE
After leaving Fort Huachuca, Balten and the Corps’ team joined 355th Mission Support Group Commander Air Force Col. Casey Bartholomew and his engineering and construction experts to discuss the possibility of future partnerships at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
“The goal in meeting with the military commanders is to understand what their future programs and projects might be,” Balten said. “The more we know and understand our stakeholders’ plans and future needs, the better our district can prepare to support their programs.”
The district has a field office – the Tucson Resident Office – located at the base, which provides administrative and quality assurance oversight to 12 active-construction projects. Of those 12 projects, seven are located at Davis-Monthan AFB and support various U.S. Air Force units.
“The USACE construction program in Tucson and Southern Arizona is vital in providing modernized facilities and infrastructure that supports our nation’s defense and homeland security,” said Richard Fontanilla, LA District area engineer for the Tucson Resident Office.
The total contract value of these projects is about $70.7 million.
RIO DE FLAG IN FLAGSTAFF
Two days and 250 miles later, Balten and the Corps’ team met with City of Flagstaff leaders to discuss the Rio de Flag Flood-Risk Management project.
“It will help save our homes and businesses,” said Flagstaff Emergency Management Director Stacey Brechler-Knaggs, in a fall meeting with Corps representatives and city leaders. “It will save our entire economy – the downtown corridor, hotels, restaurants and our regional hospital.”
After severe fires, the city and surrounding area have been subject to flooding from the Rio de Flag and Clay Avenue Wash tributaries. The plan for the project consists of channel modifications, bridge enhancements, and detention basin and floodwall construction.
“Col. Balten has been a tremendous leader for this entire project,” said Bob Holmes, City of Flagstaff consultant. “We are thankful to the whole Corps’ team. Their dedication and expertise are going to help delivery of this project in a timely and efficient fashion, and can keep us within budget.”
The LA District has been allocated $79 million in federal funds for the Rio de Flag project, and plans are to award the first construction contract for the Lower Rio de Flag and Clay Avenue Wash reaches in 2023.
For more information about LA District’s programs and projects, visit www.spl.usace.army.mil.