SAN ANTONIO, Texas --
Community leaders from Alexandria, La., joined Air Force representatives and local redevelopment officials at the former England Air Force Base Dec. 8 to celebrate the successful transfer of 2,331 acres to the England Economic and Industrial Development District, the local redevelopment authority, known locally as England Authority.
The celebration follows the transfer of the last remaining parcel of Air Force land in September, making England AFB the 27th former installation transferred for local community use.
The Air Force and the England Authority partnered to host the ceremony, one that blended Air Force traditions with local touches. Air Force Real Property Agency Director Robert Moore, opened the ceremony by focusing on the similarities shared between the Air Force and England Authority.
"As different as we are, we have many things in common," Moore said. "Similar to how the England Authority acted as a central command in the wake of [Hurricane] Katrina, our building at the former Kelly Air Force Base housed more than 1,700 evacuees. I'm proud that the England Authority continues to aid our country in a capacity that would make the airmen who once served here proud."
Since base closure in 1992, the England Authority has established several successful mixed use developments, including Alexandria International Airport, premier senior living, offices, warehouses, and heavy manufacturing. Mr. Jon Grafton, executive director of the England Authority, is looking forward to preserving the Air Force legacy while preparing for the future.
"England Air Force Base was an important piece of Alexandria's history," Grafton said. "As we look to the future, we will continue to honor the brave men and women who served our country well."
More than 100 Alexandria business and political leaders joined representatives from neighboring Ft. Polk at the ceremony. Distinguished guests included Mr. Stephen Moret, the Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development; the Honorable Jacques Roy, mayor of the city of Alexandria; the Honorable Clarence Fields, mayor of the city of Pineville, Mr. Richard Billings, President, Rapides Parish Police Jury and Col. R. Y. McBurney (ret.), former base commander at England Air Force Base from 1973 to 74.
AFRPA acquires, manages and disposes of Air Force-controlled real property worldwide. The agency's BRAC division has managed the remediation and transfer of more than 77,500 acres of property at 40 former installations to local communities for economic development.
For more information on the Air Force's BRAC environmental cleanup program, please call 866-725-7617 or email firstname.lastname@example.org