RAVENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – Congressman Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, toured the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center, formerly known as the Ravenna Arsenal, on Tuesday.
The military camp on Route 5 between Newton Falls and Ravenna is being considered for a proposed East Coast missile defense site along with locations in New York and Michigan.
Since it was built in the late 1930s as an ammunition facility, Camp Ravenna was seen by many as having just one purpose – to house ammunition. Major General John Harris wants to change that impression.
“Quite frankly, we are trying to shed that brand of the ‘old arsenal.’ It’s not anymore. This is truly a state of the art training site,” Harris said.
The camp, which is run by the Ohio Army National Guard, covers 21,000 acres in parts of Trumbull and Portage counties, enough space to fit the vision for the missile site.
“It would fit in perfectly. There are about one or two buildings that would have to be moved, and the cost of that could be almost insignificant,” Harris said.
Ryan said the missile interceptor facility would cost more than $3.5 billion, leading to 2,300 construction jobs and about a $224 million economic impact to the region. It would also mean roughly 850 new, permanent jobs for the camp, which is another reason why Ryan has spoken with the secretary of defense and sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for their support.
“We are hoping that this could be an opportunity that he could help us with,” Ryan said. “We’re saying look, if all things are equal, give it to where it is going to have the biggest economic impact and we think that is right here.”
A final decision is expected later this year.