Monday, June 16, 2014

From Planes to Properties

Much of Myrtle Beach used to be a huge military facility: Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. First built in 1940, the airbase was the former home of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (currently in Eielson Air Force Base, AL), and was an Air Force training facility. It also served as one of the bases protecting the Eastern Seaboard during the Cold War.

It's not unusual for the military to close bases--they had a lot of them during the tense times of the Cold War. Instead of leaving them to be reclaimed by Mother Nature, however, they hand the premises over to the local government for civilian use. Among the few remnants of the airbase today is the runway, which has now become part of the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

The rows of homes that dot what is now a true suburban area stand on land once used for military training. Someone unfamiliar with the place’s history will hardly have any clue on its military past, what with its current features and amenities that include an aerospace and technology business park, a booming commercial district teeming with upscale shops and establishments, and facilities for higher education.

The community that Myrtle Beach has become is now being touted as an exemplary showcase of how abandoned military facilities can be successfully converted into civilian use.

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