Last updated: August 14. 2014 6:05PM - 959 Views
By - dtrinko@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — Lima may have a better chance of protecting the tank plant if it finds ways to share the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center’s property with the community, consultants said Thursday.

Task Force LIMA should consider working to either lease out part of the JSMC’s expansive property south of Lima or find some way to partner with the community to save costs for both the facility and the community, retired Brig. Gen. Bob Clouse of CBD Advisors told the group.

“The objective’s met, and cut costs,” Clouse said. “That’s the goal.”

Clouse worked through the types of partnerships available to a military installation. The JSMC is a Public-Private Partnership, or P-3 for short, with the federal government owning the facility but General Dynamics Land Systems running it.

That’s an advantage for the plant, Clouse said, because it’s already operating with a partnership. The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act opened up more possibilities for cooperation, especially if it jointly serves citizens and military. One requirement is it can’t require additional funding from the U.S. government, though.

“I am sure ther are some opportunities here,” said Keith Deters, the plant manager at the JSMC.

The Department of Defense has suggested shuttering the plant for several years until it needs a new order of its famous Abrams tanks.

The starting point is finding those opportunities, then working through them with a newly formed office in the Army looking for these efficiencies, said retired Gen. Matt Kambic of CBD Advisors. Officials from the military will help walk them through it.

“There are opportunities to explore,” he said. “We just want to plant the seeds here.”

Clouse said the Air Force has been the first to really use this newer tool. He noted successful partnership projects at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

These types of partnerships do help the Army understand the importance of a facility to a community, Clouse said.

The group also talked about leasing out parcels of the expansive 370-acre property. There are already long-term leases for a park and the Veterans Freedom Flag Monument.

The group will continue to showcase the plant any time it can, including upcoming visits by several key Senate aides and a pair of generals within the next month.

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