County-Navy Partnership Attracts DoD's Attention - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/23/05

County-Navy Partnership Attracts DoD's Attention

Protecting our military bases is one goal one Low Country county is taking very seriously. And because of it, the Department of Defense is standing up and taking notice.

Thanks to a partnership between Beaufort County and the Department of the Navy, Beaufort's Marine Corps Air Station will be preserved.

The department and National Home Builders and Realtors Assoc. are in town to talk about whether this can be used as a national model. 

"When you consider all the money coming back from the military as an economic engine, there was no question by council that this shouldn't go through," said the county's Gary Cubic.

As part of the partnership, they split the cost and purchased the development rights to 69 acres of land surrounding the base to help keep jets flying.

"You obviously remove an encroachment issue so that residential development or whatever will not be an issue now," said Kubic. "The military is comfortable because there's a buffer."

Since this partnership is the first of its kind, the Department of Defense is looking at using it as a model for other military communities throughout the nation to help cut down on encroachment and help military bases continue performing their missions.

"I think it really reinforces we were on the right track looking ahead," said Libby Barnes, CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"We were most concerned about preserving what we had in Beaufort County," said Kubic. "Now that they see it as a model, all the better."

And county officials don't know for sure, but they say this partnership could have played a big part in helping Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort survive the base closures.

"It had to contribute to us making out well in BRAC," said county council member Mark Generales. "It had to."

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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