August 20, 2016 --
Team March joined members of Congress, Air Force and city of Norwalk leaders, and community residents to celebrate the transfer of 15 acres of an old defense fuels property owned by March Air Reserve Base to the city of Norwalk, California.
Approximately 120 people attended the Aug. 16 property transfer ceremony at Holifield Park, which is adjacent to the 51-acre Defense Fuel Supply Point Norwalk facility.
“It’s been a long time but it’s a great day for us,” said city of Norwalk Mayor Mike Mendez, referring to the roughly 15 of 51 acres the city would receive of the DFSP Norwalk facility. “We stand here today after 25 years of effort to finally mark the ceremonial changing of hands of this property. I don’t think anybody is happier than the city of Norwalk and all our residents.”
“I think it’s the greatest thing,’ said Chris Larson, a 40-year resident of Norwalk. “We’re really excited about an extension of the park.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Casey Bowen, realty officer, 452nd Civil Engineering Base Operating Support, March ARB. “There used to be some skepticism on if this project could get done…we [now] have a big sense of accomplishment.”
Bowen explained that the 452nd CE BOS had been working on the conveyance project with the Defense Logistics Agency, city of Norwalk, Headquarters Air Force Installations Directorate, congressional leaders and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners since 2001.
According to a facility fact sheet, the DFSP Norwalk facility was constructed in 1923 and purchased by the U.S. Air Force in 1951. In 1976 the facility was reassigned from the Defense Logistics Agency to then March Air Force Base, and in 1996 to March ARB.
Located approximately 60 miles northwest of March ARB, the facility served as a pipeline system to transfer fuels to both military and commercial locations. It was composed of 12 fuel storage tanks located above ground, with a combined storage capacity of 35 million gallons.
“In 2013 Linda Sánchez took office as Representative for [California’s] 38th Congressional District, said Mendez. “She wasted no time in taking up the sword, introducing a bill in the National Defense Authorization Act, facilitating the transfer of 15 acres of the tank farm property to the city of Norwalk.”
“Through the special legislation [2015 NDAA] we were able to work with the great help of March ARB to help remove the tank farms, [DLA], and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, we’re now at the point where we can get this across the finish line,” said Jennifer L. Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. “Any day that we can take property that we no longer need, that we are no longer using…and transfer to the community for a great use like a park, that’s a good day for the United States tax payer, a member of the community and a member of the Air Force.”
Team March is slated to reap some additional benefits from the transfer as well, according to Maj. Kit Allen, 452nd Security Forces Squadron commander, March ARB.
Historically Allen’s team was tasked with ensuring the facility maintained 24/7 onsite contracted security. With the remaining 36 acres of land anticipated for sale in the near future, March ARB personnel will no longer need to drive to Norwalk to conduct security audits and can instead retire the security contract, yielding a cost savings of approximately $250,000 per year
Brig. Gen. Russell A. Muncy, commander of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March ARB, echoed Miller’s comments on community, and how the city of Norwalk most likely also had Citizen Airmen from their community assigned to March ARB.
“We are your firemen, police officers, school teachers…we are part of the fabric of your community as a reserve component,” said Muncy. “That’s what makes this day so special. This piece of property belongs in this community…we’re looking forward to come back and see what this [property] will become. I’m looking forward to seeing that connection to March ARB that we have with the family of Norwalk.”