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I took a self-created video tour of Alameda Naval Air Station, and I must say that I'm profoundly disappointed that this once great facility, the economic engine of Alameda when it was open and running, is in what can only be called a horrible state of disrepair.
In other words, it's blighted.
The land that was this great "Aviation Gateway to the Pacific" supports some of the largest buildings I've ever seen in my life. As a member of the first "Alameda Base Reuse Committee", it was our collective dream to see this 1,500 acre monument to America's Military history redeveloped.
Now, after years of not visiting the land as extensively as I did Wednesday, I'm really shocked that basically nothing has been done to improve this property and restore it to economic production.
A remade and expanded trail is not enough. Even SunCal's terrific development proposal, while needed, only covers 700 acres of the property. In a time of serious economic need, using "NAS Alameda" as the center of the rebirth of the Bay Area economy should be a not just a priority, but a cause.
I'm not at all sympathetic to the opponents of the development plans for the station, who want to maintain Alameda's "small town character" because they (with all due respect to them) don't seem to understand that the SunCal idea does not represent "building up" because what's being proposed for resuse is a huge, unused part of Alameda. It's so big, that the new mix of uses could go in and barely - really not - impact Alameda's image.
I could really understand if the proposal was for the "upzoning" of downtown Alameda to allow buildings 40 stories tall, but that's not what this is. Again it's the reuse of a once-proud part of the City of Alameda. In fact, it's replacing a population that was forced out by the Navy's closure decision.
In 1938 Alameda lobbied to get the Naval Air Station; they got it. Over time, Alameda's benefited from it both economically and socially and no one complained that the "small town character" was hampered by its existence. Now, when it and the people who inhabit it are gone, we have people actually complaining that replacing the lost activity would hurt Alameda!
We need the redeveloped Alameda Naval Air Station now, not later. If you have a chance, visit the grounds. You'll see first hand just how much of a blighted ghost town it is and agree that something should be done.
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