Jan. 20 --- Plans are being made for the next 15 years at Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex as base and community leaders look to avoid cuts or closure in the future.
"This is really about efficiency, reducing costs and really being good stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Col. Trent Edwards, commander of the 42nd Air Base Wing, the host unit for Maxwell Air Force Base.
A workshop and meetings were held on base last week to explore the vision for the next decade and a half with help from the base's "mission partners," including Montgomery city and county officials.
One of the base's imperatives is to meet the Department of Defense's goal of a 20 percent reduction in infrastructure. That means a lot of demolition, including excess housing that is no longer needed because much of the housing has been taken over by private entities.
There also are plans to replace old facilities, including an air traffic control tower that was built in 1955 and is one of the oldest active towers in the U.S. Air Force.
Plans also include replacing a fitness center on Gunter Annex that dates back to 1943 and was converted from an airplane hangar. Other facilities slated for possible replacement include the vehicle inspection and entry control facility, the officer training school dorm and the commissary.
The base and city also are looking at a possible land swap that would give the city property near the riverfront and would give Maxwell land near its Maxwell Boulevard entrance.
"At one time, we were considering a land swap opportunity over at Gunter," Edwards said. "Right now, it is not viable, but in the future it might be."
In December, officials broke ground on River Region Freedom Park, which is being funded by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Joe Greene, vice president of military and governmental affairs for the Chamber, said he hoped to work on more projects with Maxwell, including possibly helping with waste disposal or paving on base.
"We think that a partnership between the community and the base is extremely important for the future and for the future of the base," Greene said.