Demo sets stage for new development at former Springfield armory

Cranes and demolition crews are working to clear the site of the former Springfield National Guard armory this week.

Clark County officials said once the site is clear, they can shift their focus on how to develop the property into an attraction that brings more people to the area.

Clark County bought the 4.5 acre site near the Clark County Fairgrounds from the state for $125,000 earlier this year, before selling it to the Clark County Land Bank with the intention of tearing the buildings down and turning it toward commercial use.

EARLIER: Clark County sells land near fairgrounds for development

“I’m sure the entire community is probably going to notice right off the bat, ‘Wow something is missing, something is really changing,’” said Dean Blair, director of the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Back in August, the fairgrounds hosted the second annual Springfield Formula 1 powerboat competition. Blair said at the time, there weren't enough hotel rooms for all of the people coming to the event — his office was even calling hotels to see if there was a sister hotel that guests could stay.

Blair said there are over 300 events at the fairgrounds every year and that number continues to grow. He’d be happy to see anything go in the armory’s place that increases tourism.

“We certainly need a hotel and there’s certainly a great spot there for one or an upscale restaurant, whichever fits with the county’s plan the best,” Blair said.

RELATED: ‘Wake the Lake’ brings thousands to Clark County Fairgrounds

In 2009, the Springfield National Guard unit decided to move to an armory close to the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Since then, the former property on Laybourne Road has sat vacant.

Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt said there’s already been interest in the location, which sees a heavy amount of daily traffic.

“Being located right on I-70 is such a visible location for Clark County so any additional retail, hotel or opportunities for people who are visiting us already for events and activities here at the fairgrounds will be able to stay here, spend their money here,” Flax Wilt said. “And that benefits all of us in Clark County.”

At this point, clearing the property could be complete by November. The Land Bank estimates the cost of demo to be around $100,000 to $125,000 but that number isn’t set in stone, as costs are still coming in.

About the Author