MIDDLETOWN, RI -- Calling it a win for Rhode Islanders and the United States Navy, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, today announced that Navy officials are scheduled to travel to Rhode Island next week to sign paperwork finalizing a $1.3 million transaction to turn over the former Navy Lodge property -- located along Coddington Highway and West Main Road -- to the town of Middletown. "This is an exciting development for Middletown and it is a smart, cost-effective move for the Navy and taxpayers," said Senator Reed. "I congratulate the Town Council, particularly Council President Bob Sylvia, as well as Town Administrator Shawn Brown, and everyone who helped work collaboratively to make this deal possible. I am confident the people of Middletown will put this space to good, productive use in a way that benefits both the community and enhances public infrastructure surrounding Naval Station Newport." "This is great news. We have been working on this project for over a decade. This is one of the most important acquisitions the town has ever made and it has the potential to be a long-term economic catalyst," said Council President Robert Sylvia. "We appreciate Senator Reed's support and help with the Navy. Going forward, we plan to seek public input in terms of how to best use the property to benefit the town and generate economic benefits and tax relief for our residents." From the 1990s through 2002, the Navy used the 3.25 acre parcel of land to house its off-base lodge. But the building was torn down in 2002 and the Navy replaced it with new on-base lodging. In 2005, the property was used as a temporary staging area to help provide relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina, but it is currently vacant. This deal for the site, which has been over a decade in the making, began during the 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), when the BRAC Commission evaluated Naval Station Newport and determined the Navy no longer needed the use of all naval property on Aquidneck Island. The Navy declared over 225 acres of naval property in the Town of Middletown, the City of Newport, and the Town of Portsmouth to be surplus in 2008, including the Navy Lodge site. On December 5, 2014, the Town of Middletown submitted a letter requesting acquisition of the property via negotiated sale and subsequently agreed to the purchase price of $1.3 million. Last February, the Town Council voted unanimously to put down a $130,000 deposit for the property and has discussed holding public hearings on redeveloping the former lodge property into a mixed use residential-commercial site. Middletown will incorporate the property into the redevelopment of its adjacent 13.25 acres. Reed, who also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, noted that under the terms of the agreement, the Navy is responsible for all environmental cleanup costs. In August of 2017, the Newport Daily News reported that "From an environmental standpoint, the former Navy Lodge in Middletown is clean and ready to be transferred. During a tour this week of Naval Station Newport properties, base Environmental Director David Dorocz said there are no environmental concerns at the more than 3-acre site at the corner of Coddington Highway and West Main Road."