A new commissary is planned to be built on Allegheny County owned property across from the McGarity Reserve Center in Moon Township. Commissaries are military supermarkets where current and past service members can find goods at a cheaper cost because their salaries tend to be less than private sector ones. The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County (RAAC) announced that staff will solicit bids for construction. The commissary is expected to be about 43,000 square-feet and cost up to $17 million.
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato says this bodes well for the future of a military presenece in Southwest Pennsylvania. "Well the fact that we are one of the few on the BRAC report (The Defense BASE Closure and Realignment Commission)to get put back on shows the significance of the strategic importance of Southwest Pennsylvania, plus the men and women that serve in the military here."
Congressman Tim Murphy (R-18 PA) says that a new commissary is needed because the old one is an antique. "It is 50 something years old, it has many signs of wear and tear and it needs to be replaced in a more convenient location. In part because that base is going to close in the next couple of years and when it closes down we lose that base. A couple of years ago, I asked the Pentagon to please keep that commissary open at least until we build a new one, and they agreed to."
Murphy says that while the county is now announcing that it will take bids, they still have to get approval from the Senate Armed Services Committee. He says that once it passes, the county can legally start bids 30 days after.
The U.S. Army Office of Personnel and Readiness agreed to keep operating the current commissary in Oakdale until the new one can take on its duties. Currently, about 165,000 people rely on the commissary.