WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement after learning about the Army’s decision to keep Charles E. Kelly Military Support Facility open until September 2009:
“The decision made by the Department of Defense to keep C.E. Kelly open until September 2009 is a positive step forward. I’m glad the DOD recognizes how important C.E. Kelly is to our military personnel in Western PA and the surrounding areas, but this decision isn’t enough. Our troops, veterans and their families need ironclad assurances from the DOD that C.E. Kelly remains open with a sufficient level of services until a new facility is built. I am going to continue to work with my colleagues in the House and the Senate as well as DOD officials to make sure that our brave men and women in uniform have access to the quality services they deserve at a facility convenient to them.”
Senator Casey and Senator Specter recently secured $4 million through the 2008 Defense Appropriations bill for the Charles E. Kelly Commissary Relocation Project in Allegheny County to allow local and federal agencies to begin development of a new commissary and post exchange. Under the Base Realignment and Closure law, the commissary currently located at the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Oakdale, Pennsylvania can remain open and will be included in the reuse plan from the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA). Over 90,000 military retirees, active-duty, National Guard and reserve troops are eligible to use the commissary with over 150,000 total patrons in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Western Maryland. The distance to the closest commissary facility, located in Carlisle, PA, is over 400 miles roundtrip.
The bill will now await action on the Senate floor and must be approved by the House of Representatives and the President of the United States before funding is final.
In August, Senator Casey joined his colleagues from both the House and the Senate in spearheading a bipartisan letter to Secretary Gates requesting the facility remain open until a new facility is built.