Goliad airfield for sale

Dec. 7, 2009 at 6:07 a.m.

Some Goliad residents are worried about a possible purchase by Corpus Christi of the town's airfield. They fear this purchase could hurt local jobs.

The City of Corpus Christi and a handful of Navy officials spoke during the November commissioners court meeting. The group unofficially offered Goliad County $1.9 million for the field.

If Goliad County accepts the offer, Corpus Christi would hold the property for the Navy, which needs a bigger airfield. If the Navy can't find more space, its Corpus Christi base is in jeopardy, said Kim Womack, a Navy spokeswoman.

While the county waits a formal offer from Corpus Christi, some in Goliad say such a purchase could hurt the local economy.

Goliad business owner Billy Kirk and partner Richard H. McGee bid on the property twice. They want to open a distribution center on the land.

"We'll have people working out there from the community," said Kirk. On the other hand, he said he doubts local jobs will be created if an outside city buys the land.

The Navy disagrees. "The airfield would be operational again, and people would be able to work there again," said Bob Torres, another Navy spokesman.

A price tag has not yet been placed on the the 1,337-acre property, which was appraised in January for almost $2 million.

Kirk already offered more than $2 million and said he's willing to invest earnest money.

While debate ensues over the airfield's future, its history drums talk, too.

The Goliad airfield was once open in conjunction with the Navy's Chase Field in Beeville. The Beeville airfield closed in 1992, and soon so, too, did the Goliad field. Land for both reverted to each respective county.

"A lot of people lived in Beeville and worked at the base in Beeville," said Arturo Dominguez, a Navy captain. He commutes from Beeville to Corpus Christi now and said re-establishing the Goliad airfield would benefit the community. "It's a lot better than a prison system."

The Goliad airfield is currently unused except for the Texas Mile, a popular race held twice a year. Race organizer Shannon Matus said he doubts a Corpus Christi purchase would affect the race.

"I think it's a win-win for everybody unless somebody is trying to get greedy about something," said Matus.

The race draws visitors from all over the world and brings in revenue for the city, Matus said.

Kirk said the race would still be held there if he is allowed to purchase the airfield. Likewise, Torres said the Navy works closely with communities and sees no reason not to continue the Texas Mile.

Commissioners will review offers and possibly vote during their regular Dec. 14 meeting.



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