They were visiting Cecil
on Tuesday and met with reporters after flying over the closed Navy base.
Click Here> The possibility of reopening Cecil
, which closed in 1999, was broached by Gov.Jeb Bush and the Florida delegation to Congress at a hearing of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission
in New Orleans last month.A BRAC
staff member was touring the base Tuesday.
Crenshaw said city estimates show it would cost about $250 million to reopen Cecil Field
, a fraction of the $2 billion needed to build a new base.
"Florida has the facilities and the weather, and Cecil Field
, by default, is the place to go," Martinez said.
In a letter to the commission on Aug. 1, Bush asked the board to consider reopening Cecil Field
"As you know, Cecil Field
was the only other Atlantic Fleet Master Jet Base for about 50 years until it was closed in 1999," Bush said.At the time, he
said, the Navy still had Vieques and the Puerto Rico training areas, and Oceana was not suffering problems with area urban expansion.
Jacksonville decided to push reopening Cecil
after the BRAC
Commission voted to add Oceana to its list to consider cutting or closing.
Since the Navy left Cecil Field
, about $133 million has been invested at Cecil to upgrade the control tower, eight hangars, utilities, drainage and roads, Bush said.Aerospace giants including Boeing, Embraer and Northrop Grumman
have moved in.
In Virginia, feelings were mixed about the possibility of seeing Oceana closed and its mission transferred to Cecil
Kimberly Johnson, chairman of the board of Citizens Concerned About Jet Noise in Virginia Beach, Va., said she
thinks reopening Cecil Field
might be a plus for North Florida and could help with the noise situation in Virginia.
"It should be examined as a viable option," she
said in a telephone interview.