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View each video speaker's biography here.

Many communities have transitioned successfully from military dependence to self reliance. Communities, businesses, government leaders, military representatives and citizens have found common ground in envisioning a new future and developing new opportunities. Some of the best opportunities involve taking advantage of former installation property that has been deemed surplus by the military. Well organized communities quickly focus on developing reuse plans, and making them a foundation for building a stronger more self sufficient community. The defense department decides to work very closely with communities through the reuse process to provide a seamless transition and assist communities with the community’s plans for reuse and job creation. Among their biggest decisions, is how to make the best use of the bases physical assets, its buildings and facilities. In recognition that one size does not fit all, the military departments have a mixed toolbox of options for conveying these assets to communities based on each community’s needs. In this video, you will hear from several leaders representing four communities that have experienced previous rounds of base closure. Through their efforts, these communities have built strong economies, safe environments, and today are recognized as highly desirable places to live, work and play. Their experiences can help your community achieve the same success. (Narrator)

What a community has to do is they have to convince someone that this piece of property is not going to become something that’s overgrown in weeds and going to be falling down around their ears because they’re getting ready to invest private money in this facility. (Jon Grafton)

You need to be proactive; you need to offer people a process that they can accomplish within a reasonable time, like within a year. (Anthony J. Intintoli)

If you look at your installation as a blank slate and it has all of these facilities on it and has a lot of history to it, but look at it as a blank slate. Get your team in place as quickly as you can and start creating this ten year vision. (Bill Burke)

It’s really important for our community to formulate a vision and a reuse plant as quickly as possible following a base closure announcement. (Robert Leonard)

Once the community is organized and the military has provided a notice of surplus property, the Local Reuse Authority, the LRA, can begin the redevelopment planning effort, which includes homeless screening, including outreach to state and local interests. The goal is to develop an effective redevelopment plan that presents the community’s consensus for reuse and carefully weighs infrastructure needs and economic development alternatives. The plan also provides a foundation for evaluating the property conveyance options in the defense departments mixed toolbox for achieving the planned uses and an action plan for turning the community’s vision into reality. (Narrator)

Base closure causes all segments of your community to really come together and fundamentally examine where you want to be ten and twenty years down the road. (Jon Grafton)

The leadership needs to really create that excitement about this blank slate, what you can do, and how you can take what you have in this installation and create something very very special. (Bill Burke)

As part of the reuse plan, we set two primary objectives. One was to bring jobs back to their island; two was to do in a manner that our city’s general fund or our financial funds would not need to subsidize the work. (Craig Whittom)

The actual development of the plan was a good eighteen month process, eighteen to twenty-four months, so there was an awful lot of work put in to those years. There were also an awful lot of anger and hurt feelings through that process, that’s natural, you can work through it. (Bill Burke)

Some communities have experienced real setbacks by changing what they want to do on a constant basis and well flexibility is a requirement in the reuse business. It’s very helpful if you have a well developed idea of what you want as a goal for reuse and pursuing that. (Roger Dickinson)

It’s absolutely key to deal with critical infrastructure utility systems early on, even before the base closure so that in essence the systems can get a transition to local operation and to support reuse even before the base closes. (Robert Leonard)

Know that what you have put forward will need to get changed. Know that this is not the final product because it will evolve. (Kyle J. Keady)

A plan is only as good as its implementation. How quickly former military assets can be developed for productive economic use and how well the plant can withstand temporary setbacks in order to achieve long term goals, are directly related to the community’s persistence, patience, and partnerships among community and business leaders, military installation officials, state and federal assistance programs, regulatory agencies and other interested parties are essential to an environmental and economical sustainability and overall success. (Narrator)

In our case we have partnered with local developers in fact to bring together the strengths that local government has with the strengths that the private sector offer to advance our reuse efforts. (Roger Dickinson)

Shirley was fortunate to acquire nine acres that was part of Fort Devens that was formerly, back in the 1900’s, that was formerly Shirley. We were able to place our new police station, town hall, and library on that acreage. (Kyle J. Keady)

It’s very important to be in a profit making mode when you do these redevelopment opportunities. You have to generate the income to patch the streets, to buy the fire equipment, to pay to policemen, to do those things that you just take for granted. (Jon Grafton)

You have to do your own due diligence, in terms of what are the environmental conditions. Then we should’ve had a better understanding of the infrastructure and the utilities and what the cost of that was going to be. We didn’t do enough upfront due diligence on that. (Bill Burke)

The reality was and is that military bases are not constructed to civilian building codes standards in most every case there is a need to come in there’s considerable infrastructure upgrades for life, health and safety purposes. (Roger Dickinson)

Many of the buildings including the officer’s row, the newer industrial facilities, were in very good shape. That allowed tenants initially to move into those buildings relatively quickly with few tenant improvements. (Craig Whittom)

We had a convincing anchor tenant coming in and to create that draw. We negotiated a deal for Gillette to come to Devens. If Gillette was willing to come here that meant others would follow. (Bill Burke)

Communities across the country have prospered in the wake of base closings. Their experiences are among your best resources for designing your own success. These communities have faced the decision you face now, and have made smart practical choices by following a few key guidelines. (Narrator)

The basic issues that are foundational to successful reuse, such as property transfer, such as environmental view and remediation, such as the disposition of personal property and equipment. All of those are going to be integrally tied to the service branch and to the Pentagon. So it’s critical to work on having positive relationships to make that process work more smoothly. (Roger Dickinson)

Truly the devil is in the details, so those infrastructure and utility issues, for example, can’t be overlooked. Don’t be infatuated with some of the buildings that you may see on the facility you really need to understand what they represent, what liabilities are associated with them before you move too far. (Robert Leonard)

Successful reuse doesn’t happen overnight, it is more of a saga than a short story. But, it is helpful to set out benchmarks for a community that they can see the progress measured against so they know that there in fact is progress being made. (Roger Dickinson)

Even the bumps, the hills, the valleys that you had to cross over, to hurdle, that you had to jump over, it was all worth it because you look at what could’ve been, versus what is and your proud of it. (Kyle J. Keady)

The reuse planning and implementation process can be complex, time consuming, even frustrating. But these four communities easily prove that success is easily within reach. With good organization, careful adjustment and steadfast patience, aimed at long term success. And the end result will be something that you and the generations that follow you can be dually proud of. (Narrator)

It made us proudly a better community, in the end. (Edward Randolph, Jr.)

We’ve taken this elephant and eaten it one bite at a time. Base closure and reuse is not something that’s going to happen in a year; it’s not something that’s going to happen in five years. You’re talking about a ten to twenty year process and it’s something that your community has to buy into. (Jon Grafton)


Bill Burke

Executive VP, Devens & Military Initiatives Mass Development
Devens, MA

Roger Dickinson

Sacramento, CA

Jon Grafton

Executive Director, England Economic & Industrial District
Alexandria, LA

Anthony J. Intintoli

Vallejo, CA

Kyle J. Keady

Town Administrator
Shirley, MA

Robert Leonard

Assistant Director of Airports, Sacramento Country Airport System
Sacramento, CA

Edward Randolph, Jr.

Alexandria, LA:

Craig Whittom

Community Development Director
Vallejo, CA

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