The Pentagon has awarded $184,050 to Tooele County to help it plan how to reuse facilities at the soon-to-close North Area of Tooele Army Depot.

"Today's grant is a good start from the Pentagon to help Tooele County in developing a reuse plan and spur efforts to attract interested private industries to reuse Tooele's facilities," said Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah.The North Area, which repairs and maintains Army trucks and weapons systems, was ordered closed by 1997 by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Chemical arms facilities in Tooele's South Area in Rush Valley will remain in operation.

Utah officials have high hopes that Tooele's new, $110 million Consolidated Maintenance Facility, a huge building that uses high-tech robotics for repairs, will attract private business. They say several truck companies are interested in it.

Hansen said he is "optimistic about the high level of interest that some top national industrial firms have shown in Tooele's facilities.

"It will take some time for a definite proposal on Tooele's reuse to emerge, but I believe that we will have a clearer picture on that in the next two to three months."

He added, "We have excellent facilities at Tooele to market, and this money today will help us to do just that."