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Mather closing in on whole base transfer

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Transforming the former Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., to civilian use is nearly complete, bringing the Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Western Region Execution Center total count of whole base transfers to four out of six. The WREC oversees the cleanup and property transfer at six major Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, bases in the west: Mather, McClellan, Norton, George, Williams and Castle.

Thousands of people live, work and play at what is now Mather Commerce Center. While environmental cleanup continues at a few remaining sites, the bulk of the property has been transferred from the Air Force to the community.

In February 2012, the Air Force and regulatory authorities deemed all property at Mather "suitable for transfer." The decision followed years of soil and groundwater cleanup by the Air Force at the 5,700-acre installation.

Over the past few months, the Air Force has transferred nearly 3,500 acres of Mather property to Sacramento County. Only one parcel, approximately 719 acres, has yet to be transferred.

As soon as the Air Force and Sacramento County Economic Development Conveyance package for the remaining property is cleared by the Office of Economic Adjustment, the transfer will be completed. Air Force Civil Engineer Center officials, including Phil Mook, WREC senior representative, is optimistic whole base transfer will be completed in 2013.

After Mather closed in 1993, AFCEC leased the property to Sacramento County, enabling local officials to redevelop the site ahead of deed transfer. By 2012, Mather housed 80 businesses and government agencies, more than 1,200 single-family homes, a cargo-focused airport, a regional park, a state-of-the art sports complex, an 18-hole golf course, and other amenities. An estimated 5,000 people work at Mather today.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is a 1,600-person civil engineer field operating agency responsible for providing responsive, flexible full-spectrum installation engineering services. AFCEC missions include facility investment planning, design and construction, operations support, real property management, readiness, energy support, environmental compliance and restoration, and audit assertions, acquisition and program management. The unit conducts its operations at more than 75 locations worldwide.