Tyndall Air Force Base looks to lease underutilized land
Branded the "Installation of the Future," Tyndall Air Force Base is looking to further develop its real estate.
“We’re really looking for a situation that’s a going to be a win, win, win. And by that I mean a win for the Air Force, a win for the local community, and also a win for the developer," said Tyndall Reconstruction Program Management Office Executive Director Brigadier General Patrice Melancon.
Through the Enhanced Use Lease Program, Air Force officials negotiate with public or private developers to create a mutually-beneficial project on underutilized Air Force Property. In this case, that is a 3,400-acre piece of land.
"This isn’t just for airmen. This is for all Bay County residents and visitors from Florida. They’re actually depending on what’s built out there. It’s an opportunity for tax revenue that will go back to Bay County also," Commander of the 325th Mission Support Group Colonel Gregory Beaulieu said.
Officials said they may not necessarily use all 3,400 acres. They could use a few dozen to several hundred. That's what the Virtual Industry Exchange is for; to help them explore their options.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center will host the first Virtual Industry Exchange on June 12.
“We’re anxious to at least start the process and get a better sense of what kinds of things might be viable," Brig. Gen. Melancon said.
One local man is certain he doesn't want one acre of the land developed.
“What should happen with that property is that I think it should become either a national park or at least a state park, and leave it in its natural state for all of the citizens to be able to enjoy," Bay County resident Thomas Cook said.
Cook started an online petition to fight the potential development. He said he plans to join the online exchange next week and voice his opinion.
Tyndall officials assure community members any proposals that would harm the environment or local heritage are off the table.
“After we formulate an idea there will be environmental assessments, environmental impact studies that we’ll use to see if this is the best course of action," Colonel Beaulieu said.
The deadline to register for the exchange is June 8. You can do so here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tyndall-virtual-eul-industry-exchange-tickets-104636821550?aff=ebdssbeac