RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO Page: 60 of 81
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added at Nellis Air Force Base.
-- by Mark Wegner
Reshuffling at bases concerns residents;
Those who live near facilities slated for job cuts, closing say effects could be
BY TAMMY WEBBER AND TIM EVANS
BLOOMFIELD, Ind. -- Reed Wilkinson lit a cigarette, inhaled deeply and wondered aloud about
the future of this Southern Indiana town.
The day before, residents learned the area's largest employer -- Crane Division, Naval Surface
Warfare Center, with more than 4,000 workers -- would lose almost 700 jobs under a Pentagon
realignment. Wilkinson said he's not sure Bloomfield or the rest of the region could take more
"I'm glad they're saving 3,300 jobs," Wilkinson said, as a small group gathered at the Spot
Lounge nodded in agreement. "But 700 jobs is too much to lose. Keep this up, and there's not
going to be a Bloomfield."
About 55 miles northwest, in Vermillion County, residents near the U.S. Army's Newport
Chemical Depot expected the news that 571 jobs would be lost when the depot closes in a few
years. The only activity at the base, idle for almost 35 years, is ongoing destruction of the deadly
chemical nerve agent VX.
But residents near both bases say they're keenly aware that, while the military's Defense Finance
and Accounting Service center in Lawrence will get 3,495 new jobs under realignment, rural
Indiana will suffer the brunt of job losses.
Residents and state officials say there is a chance to make the best of the situation because bases
listed for closure or realignment could receive federal money for redevelopment.
A military base planning council established by state lawmakers this year will be organized soon
and is expected to establish a local redevelopment authority for the area around Crane, said Lt.
Gov. Becky Skillman, who will lead the council.
Economic development officials and others hope to draw high-tech firms that could provide such
things as engineering support for Crane, where the Navy designs and procures military
equipment, including electronic warfare systems.
In Vermillion County, economic development officials have been planning for years how they
might reuse the 7,000-acre Newport base 30 miles north of Terre Haute as an industrial park; it
has been off the tax rolls for decades.
Jobs already scarce
New jobs couldn't come fast enough to Southern Indiana, where hundreds were lost when the
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO, legal document, November 4, 2005; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc24404/m1/60/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.