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Air Force completes transfer of former Grissom AFB

WASHINGTON (AFPN) --

Air Force officials reached a property transfer milestone when the deed for the final parcel of property at the former Grissom Air Force Base, Ind., was accepted by its local redevelopment authority Sept. 21.

The central heating plant parcel was the last portion of the former base transferred to the Miami County Economic Development Authority, and the transfer marks the end of a 13-year effort to make the excess property available to the local community for redevelopment.

"This is a significant accomplishment for the Air Force," said Katie Halvorson, the director of the Air Force Real Property Agency. "The transfer of Grissom AFB not only makes this property available to the community for redevelopment, but also allows the Air Force to refocus its resources to better support our warfighting Airmen."

The former Grissom AFB, named after Astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom, was an active Air Force installation from 1954 to 1994, hosting a variety of aircraft including the KC-135 Stratotanker. 

The 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended the closure of the base and in 1994, the installation closed with nearly half of the former base, including the runway, transferring to the Air Force Reserve to become Grissom Air Reserve Base.  Today, Grissom ARB is home to the Air Force Reserve Command's 434th Air Refueling Wing.

AFRPA, a field operating agency under the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installation, Environment and Logistics, was responsible for managing and disposing of the remaining 1,342 acres, including facilities and infrastructure, not retained by the Air Force. Since Grissom AFB's closure, the agency has worked to remediate environmental contamination in order to get property into the hands of the local community faster. To date, all environmental remedies are in place at the former base and the groundwater monitoring network has been optimized.

"Our environmental program has been very successful," said Marlene Seneca, the BRAC environmental coordinator for the former Grissom AFB.

In the years following its closure, the local community has taken advantage of excess property at Grissom AFB through redevelopment. To date, the former base is home to many businesses including a computer processor manufacturing plant, an assisted living facility, warehouses and distribution centers. The former base is also home to a state correctional facility that opened in 1999.

"I'm amazed at how things have changed around here," said Ms. Seneca, who worked at the Environmental Flight of the 305th Air Refueling Wing when Grissom AFB was an active installation. "The reuse of the former base is a real success story for both the Air Force and the local community."