MDA Targets Camp Ravenna as a Missile Interceptor Base

Arielle Campanalie

The Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Newton Falls is under review by the Missile Defense Agency as a finalist to become a ballistic missile interceptor base.

The bipartisan Senate-House appropriations deal, passed the week of Jan. 14, awarded Camp Ravenna $5.2 million in federal funds to extend water and sewer lines. Camp Ravenna formally served as the Ravenna Arsenal.

 “The folks at the MDA have visited Camp Ravenna, they have looked at the site, they have made assessments, but no final judgments have been made,” said James Sims, Ohio National Guard Director of Communications.

Sims said the $5.2 million will be used to extend the water and sewer lines of Camp Ravenna to within about 100 yards of the main post and will be entirely within Camp Ravenna.

“The project runs the main line for us,” Sims said, “Any future building projects will tie into this main line.”

He continued saying the ballistic missile interceptor base could aid in putting the camp to even better use.

 “The project will provide utility infrastructure to currently un-served areas of Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center,” said Sims.  “When we got Camp Ravenna, the Army Corps of Engineers had removed a lot of the infrastructure, we’ve spent years adding capabilities and infrastructure to Camp Ravenna to make it a viable training site.”

 According to Sims, the Ohio National Guard has an aggressive long-term plan to develop Camp Ravenna as a major training site. 

“Ohio National Guard units from all over the State of Ohio, and some military units from other states, will increasingly train at Camp Ravenna,” said Sims.

When asked where the $5.2 million federal funds will be coming from, Northern and East Central Ohio Press Secretary Yianni Varonis said, “well, obviously everything that the government spends is used from tax payer dollars.”

Ravenna Arsenal Administrative Board Charter Member, Tom Smith, has lived in neighboring town, Paris, for 25 years.

 “I personally won’t be worried about safety,” said Smith, concerning the potential missile site.  “This could be beneficial to bringing in jobs for this multi-year project that will require massive construction.”

Varonis said the Camp Ravenna expansion has the potential to create temporary jobs during construction and more permanent jobs when the facility is finished.

“It’s about creating the infrastructure to allow it to expand and as it expands, it will bring more jobs there,” Varonis said.

Though, Sims said they’re still waiting to begin expansion.

“Money has to be released, project has to be bid. There’s a number of things that have to take place before we start turning earth,” Sims said.

But Smith said he’s hoping they don’t have to wait too long to see the tax dollars put to use.

“I have been a [Paris Township] Trustee for over 16 years,” Smith said.  “The land has been unused for so many years. Finally, our governor has done something that will benefit our economy.”

Contact Arielle Campanalie at [email protected].