Base Realignment & Closure
Glenview Naval Air Station, Illinois
One of the three major installations closed in the Chicago metropolitan area during multiple BRAC rounds in the mid-1990s, Glenview Naval Air Station (GNAS), located in the center of the Village of Glenview, Illinois, was approximately 18 miles northwest from the heart of downtown Chicago.
Immediately upon hearing of the Air Station’s slated closure, the Glenview trustees moved quickly to influence the redevelopment process. Their first steps were to 1) establish a citizen’s planning committee to help build consensus around base decisions at the grass roots level, 2) seek an amendment to the state tax increment finance law to include former military bases because redevelopment costs were anticipated to far exceed land sale proceeds, 3) create a joint, on-site public-private sector partnership to include village officials, and 4) establish a consolidated plan review commission.
The closure brought about the loss of 4,000 jobs to a community of 38,000 people, but ultimately the planned reuse of the facility far surpassed the jobs lost and greatly increased the economic gains in the community. For example, 700 acres were sold to private developers, dedicating two million square feet for mixed use of commercial space. An additional 400 acres were preserved for open, recreational space, including a large community park, lake, and prairie preserve. To always remember the contributions of Glenview Naval Air Station, the former Hangar One was preserved and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
What advice do you have for other communities?
Director of Capital Projects and Planning
"First, build community consensus early in the project. Where there are many stakeholders, you can have trouble reaching common ground. Secondly, build a reliable partnership with your agencies—in our case, the Navy and environmental regulators. Thanks to careful organization, our area is almost 100 percent cleaned up to residential standards."