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bobliocatt

Could Cecil Field reopen as a Navy Air Station?

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Jacksonville: Cecil Field reopening pitched to Fed panel

Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia to added to BRAC list

NEW ORLEANS -- In a surprising twist, state leaders asked a federal panel Friday to study a massive return of Navy fliers to the old Cecil Field, closed in 1993, in Jacksonville.

Members of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission suggested they were open to the idea, though time and burgeoning investment by businesses at the defunct naval air station could play against the idea.

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor..._19317087.shtml

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It sounds like another misguided Congressional decision is haunting the Navy. I like this line:

Cecil lost out to Oceana in 1993 because the Virginia base had a special, secret mission.

Keeping open a positionally inferior base and closing a viable one due to a super secret mission that evidently no longer exists? Politics sounds more likely to me. Sens. Warner and Robb of Virginia were instrumental in 'saving' Oceana in 1993, evidently having more clout than Sens. Graham and Mack of Florida. Warner hasn't been kissing up to Bush lately, maybe this is a consequence of his diminished status amongst Republicans.

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zed: The whole idea of the base closing commission is to take politics out of the equation and do what is best for the country in terms of weighing national defense and cost savings. If there was a classified reason for keeping Oceana open in 1993, it would most likely still be classified today. Since you have no information that politics played a role then or now, there is no reason to speculate about dark conspiracy theories.

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The TU had a really good editorial on the situation.

They basically pointed out that Oceana is becoming obsolete due to massive suburban encroachment. But Jacksonville is also actively encouraging development in and around Cecil Field.

They pointed out that it is now up to city leaders to find out if the Navy and civilain development could co-exist at (and surrounding) a re-opened Cecil Field ... lest we get our hopes up too soon.

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zed:  The whole idea of the base closing commission is to take politics out of the equation and do what is best for the country in terms of weighing national defense and cost savings.  If there was a classified reason for keeping Oceana open in 1993, it would most likely still be classified today.  Since you have no information that politics played a role then or now, there is no reason to speculate about dark conspiracy theories.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Do you really believe that having politicans choosing what bases to close is taking politics out of the equation?? While 1993 wasn't quite as bad as now, "national interest" is clearly not a priority in Washington.

I have a family member that works at a Navy installation in Jacksonville. In 1993 it was well known to Navy personnel that Cecil Field was a superior facility for Naval Aviation - the urban encroachment on Oceana was as obvious then as it is now. Of course that is not an issue at Cecil Field, plus at the time of BRAC the Navy had recently completed facilities and runway upgrades at Cecil Field.

Clearly, Cecil Field was the superior facility. In fact, Oceana received many of the aircraft stationed at Cecil Field after its closure, exacerbating the problem of congestion at Oceana. But in 1993 I believe the cuts were politically motivated - that is, preventing one area from bleeding too much. The Naval Air Depot at Oceana was closed (sparing Jacksonville) but NAS Cecil Field was closed (sparing Norfolk). Jobwise, the bigger hit was to Jacksonville and I believe politics played into that as well.

Base closures are commonly distributed to avoid brutalizing one area, but that means politics are trumping what should be facility decisions. In my opinion, the Navy got burned in 1993 by the Cecil Field decision. Also, I have little doubt that whatever secret black ops stuff is/was going on at Oceana could have been moved if necessary and that it is highly unlikely that was the motivating factor behind the choices made. The fact that the Navy is still unhappy with the situation at Oceana should not be surprising.

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Governor Bush has been asked to present te state's case, regarding the potential re-opening of Cecil Field as a Navy Master Jet Base, replacing Oceana NAS in Virgina Beach.

Bush asks to present Cecil's case

Moderator's Note: I had to edit article, to comply with UrbanPlanet's rules on the clipping of news articles. :thumbsup:

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If approval is granted to re-open Cecil as a Navy Master Jet Base, what will happen to the commercial businesses that have took up residence since Cecil's closing?

In the article there is a mention of buying them out for relocation to other areas of town; in my opinion, this is a good chance for City leaders to "sell" the downtown area to these businesses in order to attract more commerce and business downtown.

FLORIDA SKYRISE ORDER

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Most of the businesses at Cecil are Aerospace and Industrial. If the slim chance of Cecil re-opening as a naval base happens, the Navy will have to agree with co-exist with many of these businesses.

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Check out Google Maps.

Its the large grey area around the Normandy Blvd & 103rd Street split in west Jax. You can't miss it.

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Not going to happen sorry to burst you guys bubble but most of our reps are in the defense council.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good point, and you are probably right. However, with 10,000 jobs at stake, our politicians won't pass up the chance to at least try.

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The farthest it will probably go is NC when they build a new master jet base. You have to remember the point of why the base is in Vabeach is because the worlds largest Naval Base is in Norfolk. It will still need to be very close to the NOB in Norfolk, which we are only about 35 min. from NC.

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I don't think that's as much as an important factor, considering the Navy wanted to convert Moody Air Force base into a replacement base for Oceana, but the Air Force refused to give it up. The benefits of Cecil iclude Jacksonville having the second largest concentration of Naval facilities on the East Coast, its loaction isn't as overdeveloped as Oceana's and its millions of dollars cheaper to convert it back into a Naval facility, than a cash strapped government building a completely new base within 6 years. On the other hand, as stated many times before, I just don't see the Navy wanting to come back and spend millions to upgrade an old base they would have to share with private industries. Anyway, as Captain stated, when 10,000 jobs are on the line, anything is worth a shot.

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Oceana is probably going. The Navy has had to alter flight paths of the jets, cut flight times and more to accomodate nearby residents. VaBeach isn't growing as fast as Jax but Oceana is situated right in the middle of their growth while Cecil is about 20 miles from downtown and the surrounding development won't be able to encroach as it did in VaBeach.

Va will fight Oceanas closure but as it is sure to happen soon, why not at lease work to replace it in the most economic and optimal location?

A new base is estimated to cost over $1 billion while reconstructing Cecil is estimated to cost only $250 million.

I also feel that the situation at Mayport and the carrier will have some sway in the matter. If the Kennedy is to be retired, one of Norfolks carriers will more than likey be transfered to Mayport. Quite possibly the one supported by Oceana. If location is a factor for support, then that makes all the sense in the world to me.

You'd get a cheaper facility, less encroachment danger, proximity to carrier...Lots of IF's but the best scenario.

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Not going to happen sorry to burst you guys bubble but most of our reps are in the defense council.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Being an ex-20 year Navy guy, I disagree. I feel that it has a good chance to happen. In analyzing and assessing this situation, our government leaders made a huge mistake and miscalculation in closing Cecil Field.

Now that there has been admission to error, and being that it is inevitable that Oceana will close, money and cost savings is now the top tier issue. A new base would go into the billions (almost); a renovation of Cecil, and relocation or rearrangement of the commercial businesses that have settled in and now reside there would only be a couple of hundred million dollars (or a little more). If you are a government scrapped for cash, which would you choose.

The presentation by BRAC, and the polishment and lucrity of that presentation is critical. The Florida Bush administration, in my opinion are barking up the right tree, and going in the right direction. If they could pull this off, this would be huge for Jacksonville and North Florida. Let me know what you guys think.

FLORIDA SKYRISE ORDER

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Does anyone have an idea what the wage level would be if the base is moved to Cecil? The city is trying to raise per capita income and I would hope that this would. But, I really have no idea what a Navy Fighter pilot and the ancilliary staff make.

The Aerospace industry is just now discovering Cecil, and it is an industry that has been targeted by the Econ. Dev. folks and pays well. I hope that Jax will not have to forgo potential expansion of the Aerospace industry if the Navy returns.

Also, Cecil was a finalist for two Mega industry deals, the Daimler-Chrysler plant (which was cancelled) and the EADS project that went to Mobile. Obviously the site has tremendous potential for a huge project. Would a New Cecil Navy base be the equivalent, if the two are not compatible (which is highly likely IMO)?

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I am kinda in the same boat as Vicupstate...

I understand that it will bring a LARGE number of military based jobs to Jax, but in all honsoty, that arent exactly the highest paying positions. Cecil field is a perfect place for aerospace development here in Jax. I think if we tried to do the same with the field on atlantic/st johns we would run into the whole encroachment of neiborhoods. I mean the thing is almos right acroos the street from regency. That is not an area that will atract large scale areospace industries. cecil field is better suited for this.

I dunno, I dont have a problem at all with an expanded military presence here, but I would rather see it used for commercial/private development.

Cheers

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Guys, if this happens it will become a joint use facility. That is a part of the package here. Jacksonville is by no means wantign to relocate current establishments nor dissuade future projects and the facility can support both.

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Isn't the Cecil Commerce Center separate fom the base? Or have some of these aerospace companies taken over portions of the old Naval facilities?

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Guys, if this happens it will become a joint use facility.  That is a part of the package here.  Jacksonville is by no means wantign to relocate current establishments nor dissuade future projects and the facility can support both.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is the city's stance on the issue, but I strongly question that. Having to share an airport runway, might dissuade an aerospace company. Also, these Mega-projects like Daimler Chrsler, EADS, always want 1.5-2 square miles of vacant land. Would that much still be left over if the Navy moves back? I don't know that area very well at all, and the original property appears to be in two major parts, but still I have these questions.

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The base was 30,000 acres and after closure, 17,000 acres were given to the private sector. 640 acres equals one square mile so they have almost 27 square miles to play with without touching the land the Navy would need...airstrips aside.

Langley Air Force Base here where I am is joint used by NASA. Granted that is another government division but it proves dual usage is possible with no incident.

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