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Westover base may receive $96 million

By Paula Canning

Staff Writer

CHICOPEE Pending the approval of the Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC)'s recommendations, the Westover Air Reserve Base may receive up to $96.1 million in new construction funding to build a proposed Armed Forces Reserve Center, according to Maj. Jennifer Christovich, chief of the 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office.

"There is still several months to go before the [approval] is final, but it's still great news," Christovich said.

She explained that while Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recommendations to the BRAC commission were originally released on May 13, the details are "very complex."

"A lot of the numbers are still being worked out at the BRAC level," she explained.

As recommended by the commission, Christovich said the the proposed Reserve Center would house over 1,000 soldiers and civilian employees from several Army reserve units in the state.

While it was previously estimated that the base would gain 80 army personnel, a re-evaluation by BRAC officials revealed that the base would gain 150 active-duty Army personnel, 830 Army reservists and 82 full-time United Specialists if the recommendations are approved.

Now that Rumsfeld has made his recommendations, the BRAC commission has been charged to evaluate the proposals and make their recommendations to President George W. Bush in early September, who then has the authority to accept or reject the Commission's report.

Congress then has 45 days to act on the recommendations.