WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls is going to helping Sheppard Air Force Base on the main gate project, but just how much help is unclear.
On Tuesday, city council gave the green light to apply for a grant to help fund the project.
How large the project is and how much money is going to be spent is yet to be seen. However, the city of Wichita Falls hopes it will be a large one.
"The gate is important," Chief of Public Affairs at Sheppard Air Force Base, George Woodward said. "But it's the security forces at the gate that are really the critical factor. The project will make them more capable of doing their job of protecting the base and its people."
It's been years since Sheppard Air Force Base made improvements to their main gate, but officials have identified renovations to it as a top priority.
"We have a duty and responsibility to provide them the best protection," Woodward said. "You know the world we live in. The past few days we've seen the kind of world we live in. It's a dangerous world. There are threats out there."
But to complete everything they have planned, they need the city's help.
The changes include security improvements, renovations to alleviate traffic congestion, improvements to the stormwater drainage system, and beautification of the gate.
Why does the city feel they need to help?
"It's important for this community, for the city of Wichita Falls, to partner with Sheppard and to do all that we can to protect them in potential future base realignment closure actions that the federal government may take," Deputy City Manager, Jim Dockery said.
Woodward said the success of the city and base is dependent upon one another.
The base has already secured close to $2.5 million for the project. However, it could be closer to $5.5 million if they get funds from the grant and the city.
On October 10 the base is expected to ask for additional money from the 4A board.
Six other projects in Texas have applied for the same grant. Now city and base officials will wait and see if Wichita Falls is awarded any money.
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