Sat, Oct 22, 2005
Virginia Beach Mayor Now "Extremely Cautiously Optimistic"
About Chance To Keep Oceana
The battle between Virginia Beach,
VA, and Jacksonville, FL, may be over. At least, the mayor of
Jacksonville has declared a unilateral truce and the mayor of
Virginia Beach says she's "extremely, cautiously optimistic."
The issue is the naval contingent at NAS Oceana. Jacksonville
Mayor John Peyton said Thursday his city was pulling out of the
competition to lure Oceana's aviation operations to Cecil Field
because of growing opposition to the idea of returning Navy
fighters to the base, which closed in 1999.
"The feedback I've received in recent weeks makes it clear that
the community does not want the master jet base to return, and I
respect that," Peyton said Thursday, two weeks after withdrawing a
$50 million pledge to make Cecil Field (below, right) ready for
military air operations. He was quoted by the Associated Press.
But that doesn't much ease the mind
of Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf. "Let me put it this way,"
she told the AP. "If you were running a full marathon and you got
halfway there and somebody gave you water in a teeny tiny cup and
you drank a drop of water and splashed a little on yourself for
some energy, that's the best way I could describe the news from
Jacksonville. I respect what the mayor of Jacksonville did. Am I
Last August, the military's Base Realignment and Closure
Commission decided to move Oceana because there was just too much
development springing up around the base. They vowed to move the
base to Jacksonville unless state and local authorities in
southeastern Virginia did something to stop the civilian
It's not clear at this point where Jacksonville's pull-out
leaves the BRAC's decision regarding Oceana. But it has, for now,
ended the war between Virginia Beach and Jacksonville.
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