By Mike Ward
Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs
As Redstone Arsenal has grown, the community has helped to meet its infrastructure needs by working with local, state and federal government partners to develop needed capacity.
Such partnerships include the City of Huntsville’s waste-to-energy plant that supplies steam to the Arsenal for its heating and cooling needs by burning the region’s solid waste, providing a tremendous win-win for both the base and the community. The City also partnered with Redstone to develop Redstone Gateway, a 470-acre Army Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) mixed-use office/hotel/retail development at the main entrance to the Base. Ultimately this EUL will provide over 4 million square feet of developed space and millions of dollars to help meet Redstone’s operational requirements. The city and state also built senior officer quarters on the base, and widened significant portions of the major access roads both on and off post to accommodate Redstone’s growth.
The Redstone/Huntsville partnership grew even stronger with the recent Intergovernmental Support Agreement (IGSA) between Redstone and Huntsville Utilities. The IGSA is a public-public partnership that authorizes the Military Services to receive, provide, or share installation support services with a state or local government. The scope of the work provides for the operations and maintenance of the electric, water, and gas systems on Redstone Arsenal. Huntsville Utilities will inspect, repair, and maintain all existing utility components and will provide all personnel, equipment, supplies, materials, supervision and other items and electronic services to perform these services at Redstone.
You may not realize it, but Redstone’s infrastructure is the size of a small city. They have the following:
“This IGSA is a huge success for the Army, Redstone Arsenal, and the Huntsville community,” said Ivan Bolden, Chief of Army Partnerships at The Pentagon. “As a partner, Huntsville Utilities will bring many years of local utilities operational expertise and experience to be applied to Redstone’s utility infrastructure, and additional capacity to support future mission growth. Huntsville has always been overwhelmingly ‘military friendly’ and this partnership underscores the long-standing commitment of the community’s leadership.”
“This agreement has been discussed in various forms for many years, but came into focus in this form two years ago,” said Wes Kelley, President & CEO of Huntsville Utilities. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to enhance Army readiness, promote cost savings/cost avoidance, gain efficiencies, improve the quality of life for soldiers and families, and strengthen installation-community relationships. Huntsville Utilities is proud to have the trust of Army leadership both on Redstone Arsenal and at The Pentagon to operate and maintain their utility infrastructure on base.”
Mike Counts, Vice President of Operations with Huntsville Utilities, echoed that sentiment. “This IGSA represents a win-win for all parties involved. RSA will gain the advantage of 370+ operational staff at Huntsville Utilities,” said Counts. “The additional staff and equipment needed to perform the services outlined in the IGSA will be on-hand to respond to emergencies and/or problems throughout our service area (Huntsville/Madison County) and RSA, enhancing our flexibility and level of service for all our customers.”
The Huntsville/Madison County community and the greater Tennessee Valley region have consistently demonstrated sustained and effective strategies to promote collaboration with Redstone Arsenal since the Arsenal was first established. These open lines of communications have led to an outstanding level of community support for the base.
This article appears in the April 2021 issue of Initiatives magazine, a publication of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.