Base Realignment & Closure
Grissom Air Force Base
Grissom Air Force Base was located in Miami County, Indiana about six miles south of Peru, Indiana and about 65 miles north of Indianapolis. The BRAC 1991 round targeted the base for realignment that became effective in September 1994. With realignment, an estimated 792 civilian jobs at the base were lost.
In 1991 when the realignment of Grissom Air Force Base was officially determined, a community planning effort began. A Grissom Community Redevelopment Authority was established comprised of 32 members from the three counties around the base. The large board created challenges to consensus, but made progress by identifying potential businesses, screening suitable property, and obtaining funds for and hiring a consultant to develop a base reuse plan. By state law, a successor planning agency was formed, the Grissom Redevelopment Authority (GRA), and made part of the main county (Miami) government near the base. The GRA was accorded recognition by the Department of Defense (DoD) as the Local Redevelopment Authority, a status that permitted it to receive property transferred from the base. A seven member volunteer board directs GRA’s work, which has been responsible for the creation and development of the Grissom-Aeroplex business and industrial park. Strong partnerships with utilities, developers, other neighboring economic development authorities, and state and federal agencies such as DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment and the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) were, and continue to be, vital. The GRA also has worked closely with the local Workforce Investment Board, Workforce Development Strategies, Inc. Funding from EDA has been especially helpful in property reclamation and development and expanding GRA’s marketing efforts.
To date, 36 businesses and a state correctional facility are located in Grissom-Aeroplex, employing almost 1,000 employees, approximately 25 percent above civilian employment at the former Air Force base. Among the businesses attracted to the new park are a locomotive engine parts rebuilder, nursing home, electronic component manufacturing, heating and air conditioning service, banquet hall, industrial robotics, and golf course. The designation of Grissom-Aeroplex as a state enterprise zone along with additional tax and other benefits has served to assist in business recruitment.
What made this effort so successful?
Grissom Redevelopment Authority
"Our greatest challenge was being able to take on the amount of property available and become self-sufficient in total operation. We accomplished this project through outstanding planning, superb execution and the cooperation and support of the Air Force Reserve and the Air Force Base Conversion Agency, as well as local, state, and federal elected officials."