Saturday, April 2, 2016

Killeen-Fort Hood granted $3.47M for airfield updates

AUSTIN — Nearly $3.5 million from the state of Texas was awarded to the city of Killeen and Fort Hood for updates to the Robert Gray Army Airfield Army radar approach control facility.

The governor’s office announced Friday that the Killeen-Fort Hood area is one of five Texas military communities receiving the second round of funds from the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant, awarded by the Texas Military Preparedness Commission to assist military communities that might be affected by a future base realignment and closure, or BRAC.

“Now more than ever, it is incumbent upon the State of Texas to dedicate the resources needed to preserve the installations of the brave men and women in uniform just as they have preserved our freedom for generations,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a release about the grant funding.

The first half of the grant, which totals $30 million, was awarded in December. Other communities to receive the most recent round of funding are:

Bexar County, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph; Tom Green County, Goodfellow Air Force Base; City of El Paso, Fort Bliss; and the City of Del Rio, Laughlin Air Base.

The city of Killeen approved the application for the grant in February, and Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine said the $3.47 million from the state will be added to $1 million from Fort Hood, $536,000 from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation and $337,000 in city in-kind contributions, for a total of more than $5 million to fund the airfield facility’s update and renovation costs.

“Being selected for this award could not have been accomplished without a truly combined effort led by the City of Killeen with significant support from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport, Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, Bill Shine from the Texas Military Preparedness Commission and Fort Hood’s Directorates of Aviation Operations, Public Works, and Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security,” said Col. Todd Fox, Fort Hood garrison commander.

Fox said the grant will “renovate and modernize” the radar approach control facility, which will benefit both Fort Hood and the community, as it “shares its runway and control tower with the Killeen Regional Airport.”

“The modernization to the radar system will not only benefit Army aviators but commercial pilots and air carriers across Texas who use the airport,” Fox said.

Killeen Mayor Scott Cosper said applying for the grant was part of an ongoing initiative by the Texas Mayors of Military Communities, a group started by former Killeen mayor Dan Corbin in 2014.

Cosper said Killeen officials and the mayors group are “happy the state recognizes the economic benefits of Fort Hood.”

“(The grant) is the result of a well-written application and a continuation of great partnerships between Fort Hood and the city of Killeen. It’s a win win for everyone,” Cosper said, adding that he also is grateful for ongoing support from state legislators Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock and Sen. Troy Fraser, who aided in efforts to secure the grant funding.

State funding from the grant will be given at the start of the 2017 fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1.

Original article can be found here:

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