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530+ million dollar contract will impact more than just Tyndall

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:42 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Tyndall Air Force base is broadening its horizons after a more than $530-million contract award.

The money will be used to support the F-35A Lightning II jets coming to the base.

The contract won’t just help improve what’s been dubbed the base of the future, though.

“This will impact almost everybody almost directly or indirectly,” said Col. Travis K. Leighton, the Chief of the Air Force’s Natural Disaster Recovery Division at Tyndall. “The restaurants, service industry, and the housing markets” will also be impacted.

One local marina owner can attest to the Colonel’s statement.

“They’re going to bring a lot of people in,” said Blaine Buholz, the manager and owner of Pier 98 Marina. “It’s going to help us out and a lot of other small businesses.”

Buholz has been running Pier 98 Marina for less than a year.

He said he’s looking forward to what the uptick in economic growth will bring to his business and the area as a whole.

“It’s my understanding that we’ll also have some housing development going on to accommodate all of the new military personnel coming to the base,” Buholz said.

He also said the community has improved substantially since Hurricane Michael devastated the area back in 2018.

“Hurricane Michael completely took everything out here,” Buholz said. “We had to rebuild all of the docks, the tackle house, the gas station canopy, and the signage. It really put a huge damper on this place.”

It’s important to highlight the efforts that went into receiving the contract, too.

“Again, over the past 3+ years - that was a substantial team effort,” Col. Leighton said. “There were multiple obstacles along the way between the Air Force, the Corps of Engineers, and local community partners.”

Now the sky is the limit for Tyndall and its nearby communities.

The projects are expected to start by Fall of 2022.

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