East side County Colmmissioner Tommy Calvert says Bexar County has dodged a bullet, and has succeeded in resolving encroachment concerns the Air Force had raised about the future of Randolph Air Force Base, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Today we can say that Randolph is no longer on the quadrennial list of potential bases for closure," Calvert said. "That is a huge victory, for us to be able to save our sixth largest employer."
Calvert said the Air Force several years ago had mentioned several areas where residential and commercial business growth was threatening the base's flight training mission.
Bexar County Public Works Director Renee Green said using $11 million in federal and local funds, the County succeeded in purchasing many of those 'clear zones' and 'danger zones,' especially near the ends of the runways. She said condemnation was not used to purchase any of the property.
"In the end, when we had spent all of the dollars, 19 properties were purchased, totalling 75 acres," she said. "7 of those 19 properties were vacant tracts of land, there was one commercial warehouse with some acerage attached to it, and 11 residential homes."
Calvert said Randolph is the sixth largest employer in Bexar County, with a $1.3 billion annual payroll, not to mention the fact that Randolph is the home of various types of USAf flying training.
Randolph conducts 230,000 flights per year, Calvert said, compared to 14,500 flights per year out of San Antonio International Airport, so Randolph continues to be a very robust part of the Air Force flight training program.
Encroachment, especially around Randolph and Camp Bullis on the far northwest side of Bexar County, has long been a concern as local officials attempt to protect the county's critical military footprint.
This does not mean that Randolph will not be considered in a projected future round of base closings.