Buying Land Around Sub Base A Good Investment
May 2, 2012
When former Gov. M. Jodi Rell and then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed a “partnership agreement” in 2009 allowing the state to make financial contributions for infrastructure improvements at the Groton submarine base, it was unclear how such an arrangement could benefit the state and protect the base from being targeted in future base closing rounds.
It was, and still is, a unique relationship, unmatched anywhere else in the country. Tens of millions of dollars in state funds have been spent on base improvements since the agreement was signed.
But possibly the best investment the state has made to date was the decision last week to purchase abutting properties to provide a buffer, preventing further encroachment for security measures, and the potential for base expansion.
That, in our opinion, is significant. In past Base Closure and Realignment rounds, one of the major deficits in rating Groton’s military value has been the tight quarters, encroachment issue and lack of expansion possibilities.
The State Bond Commission has approved $455,000 for Groton to purchase property at the intersection of Crystal Lake Road and Military Highway, and another $225,000 to Ledyard for the purchase of 20 acres adjacent to the base along Colonel Ledyard Highway.
These and other state investments, coupled with recent federal investments for a new pier and training facility, should add greatly to the military value of the base, which is repeatedly targeted for realignment or closure.
Enhancing the base’s military value is a top priority for state and local officials now that the Obama
administration has indicated that it wants at least one, possibly two, base closing rounds initiated as cost-reducing measures in the Department of Defense budget. Congress has, at least for the time being, turned back that effort, rejecting the Pentagon’s request in the current defense department budget authorization bill.
But that’s only a temporary reprieve.