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Grissom Aeroplex. (Regional Report: North-Central).

A full-service airfield, residential communities and a diverse group of businesses make the new Grissom Aeroplex a small town of its own.

About two years after Grissom Air Force Base closed in 1994, the Grissom Redevelopment Authority got control of some 3,000 acres outside of Peru. "Our ideal location, just a one-day drive from 65 percent of the U.S. population, makes us very attractive to both businesses and families," says Dan Goddard, executive director of Grissom Redevelopment Authority. "We are well on the way to achieving our goals."

Sixty-five percent of the property is now occupied, out of the 3,000 available acres.

The U.S. government transferred the property to Miami County under a no-cost rural economic development conveyance. The Grissom Redevelopment Authority board hired Goddard to take on the project promptly after the facility was shut down.

Though the community lost some 4,500 military and civilian jobs when the base closed, redevelopment efforts have the area thriving once again. Of the 1,128 housing units on the base--completely remodeled by Aspen Square Management--750 are now occupied, and the numbers continue to grow steadily. The Estates at Eagle's Point offers two-,three-and four-bed-room homes that come in duplex, ranch and single-family styles.

Currently, Grissom Aeroplex is home to 28 different businesses including Alliance Group Technologies, a contract electronics manufacturer. Also on the redeveloped base are restaurants, an auto parts store, a state correctional facility, a nursing home, the Leaning Tree golf course, a community center and a church.

After a year at Grissom, Alliance Group Technologies sales manager Hilton Turner says the aeroplex has been a good fit. "It is very conducive for relocation mainly because of its location right off of U.S. 31 and because of its competitive pricing."

Besides its easy highway access, the aeroplex boasts the longest runway in the state, which can host a variety of aircraft, including small private planes, corporate and commercial jets and the U.S. Air Force Reserve Wing of KC-135 tankers that still operates at the base.

Grissom, deputy director Jim Tidd says, is redeveloping in comparable fashion to other closed bases, such as Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado. "It is much easier for bases such as Lowry that are in an urban area, but in a relative manner we are doing just as well or better," Tidd says. "You have to compare yourself to the goals you set, not others."

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Author:Black, Doug
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Previous Article:Top business stories: North-Central Indiana update. (Regional Report: North-Central).
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