Between 1951 and 2009, Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant (Riverbank AAP) manufactured steel cartridge cases for joint Army and Navy use. Norris Industries (NI) operated the facility as a government-owned and contractor-operated (GOCO) facility between 1952 and 2010. Cartridge production at the facility ceased in May 2009, and the mission transferred to Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. The Facilities Use Contract with NI to operate the facility expired in March 2010.
Responding to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision to close Riverbank AAP, the City of Riverbank, California, serves as the federally recognized entity responsible for reuse and redevelopment of the 172-acre facility and its 192 structures. Riverbank is a small, rural community of about 22,000 people in the fertile Central Valley, five miles north of Modesto. The Riverbank City Council, reconstituted as the Riverbank Local Redevelopment Authority (RLRA), was formed in 2006 and recognized as an Implementation LRA in March 2009. The Riverbank Mayor serves as the RLRA Chair.
The closure of Riverbank AAP was projected to result in the loss of 89 direct and 16 indirect jobs in the Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. In addition, at the time of closure announcement, 11 industrial/business tenants with approximately 130 employees leased space at the plant under the Army’s Armament Retooling and Manufacturing Support (ARMS) program. The City of Riverbank (population 20,6911) suffers from a very high unemployment rate (25.4% Average Unemployment for 20102) and low per capita income of $20,342 as compared to the California per capita income of $29,0203, and the average Riverbank AAP employee salary is approximately $35,000.
RLRA took over operations and management of Riverbank AAP on April 1, 2010 under a long-term lease with a license to operate the facility. The RLRA negotiated leases with seven existing ARMS tenants and 10 new tenants, and continues to work with prospective tenants to occupy the facility as space becomes available (pending such activities as completion of environmental remediation activities).
The Riverbank AAP Reuse Plan, adopted in October 2008, calls for mixed use, primarily light industrial and business park development, with a focus on "green" industry and retention of existing ARMS tenants. The RLRA and the Army conceptually agreed to property disposal by a combination of Economic Development Conveyance (EDC) and Public Sale, whereby the portions of property sold at public auction will serve as consideration for the EDC property, with no additional payment required from the RLRA. The RLRA submitted an EDC application in April 2010 and continues to negotiate a final EDC with the Army. Environmental regulatory concurrence with required transfer documents delayed a planned September 2010 transfer. Disposal of the EDC portion of the property to the Riverbank LRA is now expected to occur in 2012. An Army and General Services Administration (GSA) online auction in 2010 failed to produce any bids for the public sale property.
For more information about the challenges the city of Riverbank faced, click here.
1U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 Population Estimate, http://www.census.gov, Accessed 06/06/2011.
2State of California Employment Development Department. http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov. Accessed 06/06/2011.
3U.S. Census Bureau, 2005-2009 American Community Survey. http://www.factfinder.census.gov. Accessed 06/06/2011.