Tri-City Young Marines looking for new meeting place

The Tri-City Young Marines are being booted out of their Pasco meeting place by the Army.

A decision by the Army to close the Wagonaar Army Reserve Center at 1011 E. Ainsworth St. means about three dozen youth between the ages of 8 and 18 who comprise the Young Marines unit will soon become homeless until another meeting place can be found, said Jeff Carlyle, the group's commander.

The Army's decision to vacate the facility and the surrounding seven acres means the Pasco Redevelopment Agency had to recommend what to do with the building and land, said Randy Hayden of the Port of Pasco, whose administrative offices are across the street from the Army center.

Hayden said the agency decided the property should be for port and industrial use, so that will have the Army and the port negotiating about a purchase price.

"We have to be out by the second of February," Carlyle said, noting that the Young Marines has met in the Army Reserve Center for more than 10 years.

"The Army has been very accommodating for us," said Carlyle, adding that his unit had been given several extensions beyond the original move-out dates in late 2010.

There have been several offers for temporary meeting places but finding another permanent home for the Young Marines hasn't been easy.

The uncertainty about where the Young Marines will land has caused Carlyle to delay scheduling the Young Marines' annual boot camp that had been planned for an orientation night Jan. 18.

The Young Marines previously met at the old Fruitland School in Kennewick, but that is not available, Carlyle said. Another school facility or a church also might satisfy the group's space needs, he said.

Carlyle said the Young Marines needs a large room for meetings, practicing marching and physical fitness exercise, as well as space for class instruction.

He said it also needs a storage area large enough to stow camping equipment, rappelling gear and various items need for fundraisers, such as car washes.

And it would appreciate having access to kitchen facilities and a gymnasium or auditorium.

"As a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, we rely on the generosity of the community," he said.