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East Coast Trip Yields Excellence Award
Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson, left, Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez, Debbie Olson, Executive Director LRA, and Staff Member Tracy Chow of Congressmen Jeff Denhams office, posed for a picture at the United States Senate podium after receiving the Base Redevelopment Excellence Award in Washington, D.C. - photo by Contributed

Tapped for a major honor, the Riverbank Local Redevelopment Authority (RLRA) received the 2014 Base Redevelopment Excellence Award from the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) earlier this month. City Manager Jill Anderson, Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez, and Executive Director of the Local Redevelopment Authority, Debbie Olson, traveled to Washington D.C. to personally accept the award.

“We represented Riverbank in the best possible way in those Senate Chambers,” stated Olson. “We were really very honored and proud we were in good company.”

The ADC award presentation was held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and presented by ADC Vice President, Craig Quigley, Executive Director Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance and Celeste Werner, Matrix Design Group. There were approximately 150 attendees, which included members of Congress, Pentagon VIP’s, congressional staff, defense community leaders and industry representatives.

The trip also included meetings with Senator Barbara Boxer’s military liaison, Congressman Jeff Denham’s office and Chief of the Army BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) office, Thomas Lederle.

On the website it states that BRAC is the process by which the Department of Defense restructures military installations to more efficiently and effectively support the nation’s military forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.

“The meetings were to thank them for their support and leadership and update them on conveyance and environmental cleanup activities,” said Olson. “Aside from the recognition we received from the Base Excellence Award, we also received recognition in a Defense Policy Forum.

“The forum was for Department of Defense staff, communities involved with the military, past present and future.”

According to Olson, a person from the audience asked about the next round of base closures and how each military branch would prepare for them. A panel of representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force responded with different answers. Lederle, representing the Army, stated that if anyone wanted to know the model for the next round of base closures to talk to Olson, explaining that Riverbank would be the model for the next BRAC round.

“What I believe he meant is that Riverbank was given operations and maintenance duties well ahead of conveyance, which afforded us the opportunity to get to know the site and its workings in detail; it also allowed the LRA to begin the reuse/redevelopment process very early in the conveyance process,” explained Olson.

“We are honored to be recognized for the work being done at the site and appreciate the recognition from the Association of Defense Communities, as well as the work being done by the businesses at the Riverbank Industrial Complex which are key to the success of the site,” stated Anderson.

“I think the community should be very proud of what we’ve done and what we have been able to achieve and we are getting noticed nationally,” Olson added.

She also gave a conveyance update on the Riverbank Industrial Complex where she explained the four separate phases in the process, which are: Formation and Planning of the LRA, Implementation Phase, Negotiation and Documentation Phase, and the Execution and Performance. Look for a full update on the conveyance process in the July 2 issue of The News.