Crows Landing Naval Air Station

Sudden proposal for airfield’s use worth considering.

So far, Stanislaus County officials are reacting with the appropriate mix of interest, intrigue and skepticism about the U.S. Air Force’s sudden interest in using the former Crows Landing Naval Air Station. The idea of using the old landing strip for Air Force training exercises literally came out of the blue. Less than a year ago, the county finally took ownership of the 1,500-acre field, culminating a half dozen years of negotiations with the federal government.

If the federal bureaucrats were talking to each other, then one branch of government wouldn’t have given away property that another branch thought it could use. But apparently there was no such communication.

Now, as the county is considering how to turn the old military facility into a business park, the Air Force arrives with an entourage to explain its training need. The concept could provide significant benefits to the county.

The Air Force proposes to refurbish the runways and the control tower ? work that also could make the facility more marketable as a business park. The Air Force also would upgrade sewer and water lines, improvements that are also needed for the county’s vision. In all, the Air Force investment could total $37 million, a significant amount by anyone’s standards.

Supervisor Jim DeMartini, whose district includes the Crows Landing area, is insisting that the Air Force present its ideas to the people who would be most affected ? West Side city leaders and nearby residents. One concern is about the noise that would be created by the landings and takeoffs of the C-17Globemaster III, an aircraft so large that it can carry tanks and helicopters.

There is much more to be learned and investigated about this Air Force proposal. But it’s always worthwhile to be open to possibilities, even those that swoop in from the wild blue yonder.

Source: Modesto Bee

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