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Former Chanute Air Force Base, Ill.

Former Chanute Air Force Base, Ill. (Courtesy photo)

Former Chanute Air Force Base, Ill. (Courtesy photo)

Chanute Air Force Base, Ill., was established in 1917 as Chanute Field, making it one of the oldest Air Force facilities prior to its closure in 1993. Chanute began as a pilot training school during World War I, and after a brief closure following the end of the war, reopened as a technical training center.

Chanute AFB was recommended for closure by the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 1988. The base was officially closed Sept. 30, 1993. Today, the former Chanute AFB is one of 40 former installations managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Environmental activities
AFCEC continues to work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to ensure environmental cleanup activities satisfy all regulatory standards and protect human health and the environment. The Air Force has invested more than $148 million on cleanup actions at the former installation. The cost to complete cleanup is another $11.4 million.

Property transfer
Today, the Village of Rantoul has attracted tenants in the fields of transportation and education, including Lincoln's ChalleNGe, an intensive, highly structured, alternative educational environment run by the Illinois National Guard designed to give at-risk youth a new start at becoming contributing members of their community. The former base is also home to the University of Illinois Advanced Transportation and Research Engineering Laboratory, or ATREL, one of the leading transportation research facilities in the nation.

Path forward
The Air Force and its partners will continue to work together to complete environmental cleanup for the benefit of the community.