Local leaders and military officials gathered Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Post Exchange being built in Moon Township.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, during the ceremony, heralded the new PX as a key element in the region’s growing military community and a capstone to years of work and coordination efforts.
“The new PX has been years in the making, but will be worth the wait for soldiers and military retirees across the region looking for a local place to shop on a budget who would otherwise have to travel great distances," Murphy said in a news release. "The new PX is an example of the community working together for the benefit of our region’s military families, and a reminder of how valuable southwestern Pennsylvania is to the nation’s Armed Forces."
During discussions with the Pentagon and Air Force, Murphy said a new PX was "a major difference maker in our successful effort" to keep the 911th Airlift Wing open and ensure the 171st Air National Guard was on the shortlist for the new KC-46 refueling tanker.
The new Post Exchange for qualified military retirees and enlisted soldiers will be located between a new commissary and the 316th Army Reserve, near the Pittsburgh International Airport.
The PX is being built across the street from the 911th Airlift Wing, the 171st Air National Guard, and a new Navy Reserve Operations and Support Center.
The work is expected to be completed by early 2014, with a grand opening to follow in the spring.
Together, the region’s military bases generate $300 million in local economic activity and support thousands of jobs, according to a news release.
The PX at the former C.E. Kelly base near Oakdale will close soon. Murphy worked for years to replace the old PX and in June, Congress approved the plans for a new 11,000-square-foot Post Exchange located at McGarity Army Reserve Center.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), a division of the Pentagon, will own and operate the new facility. The Post Exchange will feature a barber shop, retail space and a military clothing store, according to Murphy's office.