City leaders from around Wichita Falls joined the public and leaders from Sheppard Air Force Base at the MPEC on Tuesday night to discuss the future of one of the nation's largest training bases in our community.
The Sheppard Air Force Base Joint Land Use Study is a cooperative review and planning session for interaction between the base and surrounding communities. The study has been in the works for more than a year. Now the Matrix Design Group, a consulting firm with experience in base-community relations, is in town for a week to meet with various leaders and facilitate conversation.
Wichita Falls Planning Administrator Karen Gagne said the goal is to answer a straightforward question: "What impact do we have that is either positive or negative on the military instillation, and the missions they have there? Then, what impacts, positive or negative, are going on with the military instillation to the civilian community?"
On Tuesday the group discussed 23 compatibility factors. They included availability of housing, noise and air pollution, public trespassing on the base, other security concerns and the most evident: Land use.
Funding for the study is coming from a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Defense. the study is expected to be complete by this fall and Gagne said it will offer a comprehensive view of the complicated relations between a base and the community it rests in. She said, "So this is a great opportunity to really have a good microscope look at our community so that we can be in a Better position moving forward with our region and with Sheppard Air Force Base"