National Guard opens new helicopter facility in St. Cloudby Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio
The Minnesota National Guard will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for a new $37.2 million aviation support facility in St. Cloud.
St. Cloud, Minn. — The new building is located on 52 acres of land near the St. Cloud Regional Airport. It will support six Blackhawk helicopters and six Chinook helicopters.
Tom Moore, president of the St. Cloud Area Economic Development Partnership, said the pilots will fly helicopters mostly to Camp Ripley.
Moore said these helicopters will need about four hours of maintenance for every hour they're flown.
"So there will be a number of maintenance people here in the St. Cloud area -- it's new jobs for our area," Moore said. "It's something new at the St. Cloud Regional Airport and we hope will perhaps be able to attract something that could relate to this or some other business or opportunity that would create other jobs at the St. Cloud Regional Airport as well."
Moore said the increased presence of the National Guard will help St. Cloud's economy.
Major Shawn Manke said the National Guard will still have an aviation support facility at Holman Field in St. Paul. Manke said as the state of Minnesota got more Chinook helicopters and other aircraft, the National Guard ran out of space at Holman Field.
"So what this facility is doing is allowing us to have another facility for training, take some of the pressure off the facility in St. Paul and then allow us to be dual roles so you can support from both areas."
Manke said the facility will bring about 60 new jobs to the area.