U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Office Welcomes $400,000 Grant for Preservation of Camp NACO
Federal funds will be used to remove asbestos roof shingles from former Buffalo Soldiers' outpost in Cochise County
The office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords today welcomed an announcement that restoration of historic Camp Naco in Cochise County will be aided by a $400,000 federal grant.
"Congresswoman Giffords has long been very interested in saving this important part of our nation's military history," said Pia Carusone, chief of staff to Giffords. "We are excited that this grant will move us closer to preserving Camp Naco for future generations."
Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced this week that $400,000 has been awarded to Huachuca City for preservation of Camp Naco. The funding is part of the EPA's Brownfield Grants program, used to assess and clean up abandoned properties.
"Revitalizing our communities is vital to our health and the health of our local economies," Jackson said, adding that the grant is "part of our overall effort to clean up communities and put our nation on the path to a sustainable future."
The funds awarded for Camp Naco restoration will be used to remove asbestos roof shingles that cover the 23 remaining adobe buildings. Last year, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality awarded $37,000 so that the shingles could be removed from the former recreation center at Camp Naco.
Rebecca Orozco, vice president of the Naco Heritage Alliance, which is overseeing Camp Naco restoration efforts, called the grant "a huge, huge step."
"We couldn't do anything until the asbestos is taken care of. This has been such a stumbling block," Orozco added. "Congresswoman Giffords always has been a real supporter of this project."
The beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 raised concerns that rebel activity would spill over into the United States. In response to that potential threat, the U.S. government sent troops to protect the border. Camp Naco was built in 1919 as part of the War Department's post World War I Mexican Border Defense construction project.
The primary presence at the camp was the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments, and later the 25th Infantry Regiment -- all Buffalo Soldier units. In the 1930s, the facility became a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.
The camp has been damaged by fire and in 2007 the Arizona Preservation Foundation placed Camp Naco on its Most Endangered Historic Places list. The site is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a military district.
Orozco said the Naco Heritage Alliance hopes to preserve and rehabilitate the camp's buildings to serve as one or more museums and possibly as community space and a library for Cochise County. The restored officers' quarters could become low-income housing for elderly residents and the Border Patrol could use the camp's stables to house its horses, she said.