Press-Republican

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September 20, 2012

Air Force officially leaves base

Transferslast parcelto county

PLATTSBURGH — Forty years of Air Force presence in Plattsburgh came to an end Wednesday.

That’s when the final 732-acre parcel of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base was ceremoniously transferred to Clinton County. 

The commemoration took place in the meeting room where Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp. has helped guide reuse of the property.

KEPT FIGHTING

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics Kathleen Ferguson, who started her career as a civilian engineer at PAFB, toured the property earlier in the day and told the people gathered for the ceremony she was pleased to see how it has been rejuvenated. 

“The closure of Plattsburgh was a very emotional day for me,” she said.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s decision on June 24, 1993, was unexpected and shocked many, Ferguson recalled.

But, she said, the redevelopment shows a region can survive the closure of a military installation.

“The community could have given up, but you didn’t.”

PARC has been able to attract more than 60 businesses to the former base and its 3,463 acres. It is also the site of the expanding Plattsburgh International Airport. 

Ferguson credits her time at the base for laying the foundation of what she does today. She was hired for a 90-day temporary position as a civil engineer in 1981 and worked closely with John Huru, a civil engineer at the base. He kept her on until she left Plattsburgh for Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in 1983. Ferguson has now spent 31 years working with the Air Force.

BOOST TO AREA

Ferguson was one of several speakers who talked about the impact PAFB had on the region.

Much of the property lies within the Town of Plattsburgh. Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said that when the Air Force established a base in Plattsburgh, it brought economic, cultural and social benefits.

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