Another BRAC coming soon, leaders hope the Arsenal is avoided

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ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL- Quad City leaders are trying to avoid another BRAC or Base Realignment Closure, and to do that, the Quad City Defense Alliance, a group that supports the Arsenal, has hired a new lobbyist group out of Washington, D.C.

"I think in 2005, [this lobbyist group] did about 16 defenses with the government on BRAC regulations or shutdowns, and out of those 16, they won all 16 of them," Eldrdige Mayor Marty O'Boyle said. "So the group decided to choose to go with them."

The alliance and lobbyist are uncharted territory for O'Boyle. The Roosevelt Group is $100,000 more expensive than the past lobbyist. Because of that, the local alliance is asking Eldridge to pitch in $5,000 for the very first time.

"We have about 106 people they estimate that live in the Eldridge area that are directly impacted," O'Boyle said. "So thepeople and the employees there are from all over the place,so we want to help them in the defense of our employees, so that we do our best, so they can have stability for their employment."

Not only is the alliance asking Eldridge to pitch in, they're asking LeClaire, Milan, Coal Valley, and Silvis to do the same. The alliance had only asked the five individual Quad Cities for money before, along with Scott and Rock Island County, but alliance leaders say another BRAC could be coming in the next five years.

"It's sort of like a horse race. It's anybody's guess," QCDA member Jason Gordon said when asked when another BRAC will occur. "The latest I've heard [though] is 2023."

Gordon says he thinks the Arsenal is safe from a BRAC in 2021, but he says it would be impacted just two years later, which is part of the reason the QCDA is trying to protect the island just two years later.

Each of the five Quad Cities have all paid more than $1,700 a piece. LeClaire has approved a $5,000 payment. Milan and Silvis leaders say they'll support it. Coal Valley's Village President, Mike Bartels, says his board will discuss the payment at a meeting Wednesday, May 2.

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