Baldacci signs BNAS reuse bills

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BRUNSWICK(AP) – Maine Gov. John Baldacci traveled to Brunswick on Tuesday to sign a pair of bills aimed at giving a boost to the redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

One of the bills creates the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, an organization modeled after the Loring Development Authority, which has helped to successfully redevelop the Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

The other bill establishes the Midcoast region as a Pine Tree Zone that uses tax incentives to draw businesses and create jobs.

“As we move forward with the planning for the base reuse, it is important that we utilize every resource available to encourage new business creation in this region to mitigate the effects of the closure,” Baldacci said.

Normally the region wouldn’t qualify for a Pine Tree Zone designation because its unemployment and average salary figures exceed the criteria. But lawmakers approved the region’s designation as a litary Redevelopment Zone.

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, meanwhile, will serve as the legal entity required by the Federal Government to accept the base assets and manage the process of readjustment and reuse. The base will remain open until September 2011, officials say.

The Navy base has four active duty P-3 Orion squadrons, a reserve P-3 group and a reserve squadron of C-130 Hercules cargo planes.

The base will remain open until September 2011, officials say.

All six squadrons will remain at Brunswick Naval Air Station until at least the fall of 2008

A key factor in the timeline for removing the aircraft and closing the base is the speed with which the Navy is able to construct new hangars at Florida’s Jacksonville Naval Air Station, where the P-3 aircraft will be reassigned.

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