Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Castle Airport Turned Back Over to Community
By Katie Hammer
KFSN-TV Ch 30 (ABC), Fresno (CA)
It’s been nearly 12 years since military aircraft last touched down at Castle Airport. Since then, the Air Force has owned the base and worked to clean up toxins left behind. Lisa Geissinger, Air Force Spokeswoman, says, “There are many steps in order to deed the property over to the community. Castle is the first Air Force Base in the western United States, the first in the California region, to be completely ready for transfer and to have the final deed signing.” County Board Chairman Mike Nelson signed the final documents to transfer the property into county possession. He says, “County staff have worked for several years to make sure this land was returned back to the community in good condition and that it would be prime for economic development.”
Since the base closed, there has been some economic development here, like this lumber company that is building a brand new building here. County leaders say now that this land is in their possession it will be much easier to attract businesses.
John Fowler, Airport Director, says “When you free up an industrial park the size that we have, connected to a commercial industrial airport, the potential is huge.”
The transfer is all part of the Air Force’s transformation. Officials say Castle is just the first of many on the west coast that will be handed back to local governments. Geissinger says, “The military has been going through a tremendous transformation over the last 10-15 years there is much more that needs to be done as our world changes.”