Residents Opinion Desired by Tyndall on Waterway Restrictions

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TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE - They had to retract the first proposal in June, after a public backlash. Tyndall officials say they're still modifying the proposal, but plan to get public feedback very soon. Several months ago, officials at Tyndall Air Force Base upset residents and local politicians over the proposed restriction of parts of Shell Island and Crooked Island.

"The lack of communication from Tyndall or whoever is behind it, the lack of communication just makes everyone scared to death of what they are trying to take away from us," said Brad Stephens of Sunjammers Watersports back in June.

But now, officials are back and hoping to clarify the purpose of the restrictions. They say they're designed to protect Air Force personnel and resources in case of a direct threat against Tyndall.

"Should there be a direct threat to any of those that's when we would consider and put in front of the wing commander for approval any implementation of a restricted area,” said Maj. Anthony McCarty with the 325th Security Forces Squad.

McCarty insists the restrictions would only last as long as a threat exists. The military is also promising to discuss possible status changes for several local waterways, not only with elected officials, but also residents, during town hall meetings.

"We'll allow organizations and community members to come and talk directly to us and raise some of those questions and concerns so that we're able to quell some of those fears and further clarify anything that would be inside the package," McCarty said.

The Air Force has not set any dates for the town hall meetings. Tyndall officials have given the proposal to elected officials and are waiting on some feedback.