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View each video speaker's biography here.

Over the past 20 years, scores of communities have faced the closing or realignment of local military facilities. For some communities, the impact was sudden and severe resulting in the loss of jobs and economic activities. Yet by partnering with the military departments, many communities were able to turn those initial losses into big successes. This program visits a handful of these communities, and the local leaders who helped them build bright new futures. (Narrator)

We were a Navy town. We have been a Navy town for over 60, 70 years. Loosing almost 4,000 jobs in the shipyard, I mean that had an economic impact of a million dollars a day for us. It was a real shock to us, and I was angry. I felt how they could do this. (Beverly O'Neill)

My first though is 'my god we are going to be faced with having a closed military facility with weeds 5 feet tall, and boarded up buildings, and fenced, and what a detriment to the community.' (Paul Tauer)

When this base was active, there was a total of civilian and military personnel of upwards of 10,000. And the local community was about 2,000. As I understand it this based pumped about $40 million into the local economy one way or the other either through purchases or employment. So when this all emptied out, it was a - just a big vacuum. A big sucking sound. (Arthur Thompson)

Fort Ord had been the centerpiece of the entire Monterey Peninsula for many years. At the time of the closure it was about 35,000 people, so in an area of about 125,000, you can see it was about a 3rd or 4th of the population that we had. (Edith Johnsen)

For the military in the state of Florida it has always been very, very important in here ; and here in our community, it certainly was significant. I mean it was where every new recruit came for their training, their basic training. When that list came out through that BRAC process, we were indeed concerned in the beginning. (Glenda Hood)

What you find when a bases closes is that you find a lot of empty buildings, a lot of empty housing and not enough people to fill the buildings and the housing. (Katy Podagrosi)

It has been mentioned for closing at least eleven times before, and the local populace really wasn't too concerned about it being on the '93 list because they had weathered all the others and though 'It was never going to happen to us', but it did. (Hunton Tiffany)

All communities that face the closing or realignment of a military facility, feels the same initial doubts and fears. Successful communities overcome those obstacles, and go on to promising futures by first finding the right leadership. (Narrator)

We worked very, very strong strongly to try to keep the base here, but when that all change, when we were actually announced as a closure base, the first thing we did was try to then reorganized everybody into a different kind of configuration to deal with the closure. We were realists. We decided we lost that particular battle, but weren't going to lose the war. (Edith Johnsen)

For it truly to be embraced by the community and owned by the community, you have to have many leaders involved. And that just doesn't mean heads of your chamber of commerce, your economic development organization or your major business or corporations, or other elected leader. It also means neighborhood leaders, special interest group leaders. (Glenda Hood)

The board got together and worked together from the beginning. Everybody on the board trusted each other's judgment and we were able to move forward very fast. (Arthur Thompson)

Some base closures affect more than one local jurisdiction, and it is up to those leaders in those jurisdictions to find common ground right from the start. (Narrator)

There were two cities involved in the land, and in eventually occupying and developing the plan, and the implementation. We met early on, and began to work through those details for multi-jurisdictional involvement. And it worked. We were both very reasonable; and that's critical because, if that doesn't happen, then nothing happens. (Paul Tauer)

If the base happens to be in several jurisdictions, then get the folks together and form a team, or authority or some form of organization. And be very clear that you are speaking with one voice. (Hunton Tiffany)

Creating opportunities requires vision and a plan for achieving it. Both begin with local leaders helping their communities decide what they want their future will be. (Narrator)

The city has had to really look at itself and say "What are we going to be when we grow up?" We set up a plan that turned out to be the three T's. We were going to emphasize tourism; international trade, because we have such a large port; and the emerging technology. (Beverly O'Niell)

We determined what we wanted our community to be like and we determined that we would not take just any industry that came; that wanted to come in. We would hope that we would get industries that would be in line with our wishes for the community. (Katy Padagrosi)

We decided that it was very important to have a major university in this particular area. So we made sure that we took this opportunity and had enough of a chunk of land, 800 acres, dedicated to the California University System. And we opened up the Monterey Bay University System here. (Edith Johnsen)

Among the lesson these communities learned, none has been important than how to put together the resources you have and find the financial and technical assistance you need. (Narrator)

You have to make use of the available resources within the community. That can be people, it can be facilities, it can be finances. All combine to make a better project. Second is involve the entire community in the planning processes, so that you can get buy in from the whole community. So that they can all help, and have a piece of the success of the redevelopment when it occurs. (Paul Tauer)

The first thing to realize is that you are not alone. There are very effective and numerous resources that are available to a community. (Hunton Tiffany)

We got EDA loans. We got bridge loans. We got all kinds of support from the Office of the Economic Adjustment. The Department of Commerce was wonderful. (Edith Johnsen)

In the end, it is leadership that enables a community to see the opportunities that a BRAC offers. Develop a vision and work together to achieve it. (Narrator)

You have a have a vision of where you want to go. And you have to bring people along and people with you in that vision, because if you don't know where you're going, then you won’t know how to get there. But if you have a direction that people buy into, that people like, and that you sell this. (Beverly O'Neill)

Take that bold step. Put together the very best people, the very best minds who have the expertise and the knowledge to come up with a plan and a vision that will work, and that you can deliver in the end. (Glenda Hood)

Identify leadership that is forward thinking, business minded, strong enough to withstand short term political pressure in favor of the long-term economic goals that are set. (Hunton Tiffany)

There will always be those who say it can't it be done. But if you stay focus and you believe and have that passion in what you know you can bring about, it will happen. (Glenda Hood)


Glenda Hood

Florida Secretary of State
Former Mayor
Orlando, FL

Edith Johnsen

Monterey County, CA

Beverly O'Neill

Long Beach, CA

Katy Podagrosi

Former Mayor
Rantoul, IL

Paul Tauer

Former Mayor
Aurora, CO

Arthur Thompson

Former Chair, Loring Development Authority, ME
Co-owner Thompson Associates

Hunton Tiffany

Former Chair Vint Hill Farms Economic Development Authority, VA,
Retired Chairman Fauquier Bank

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