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Buckley, community partners unveil roadmap for future

Members of the local community and Team Buckley view displays of the Master Plan for development of the installation March 4, 2013, at the Aurora City Building in Aurora, Colo. The plan incorporated almost a year’s worth of work by military and community members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)

Members of the local community and Team Buckley view displays of the Master Plan for development of the installation March 4, 2013, at the Aurora City Building in Aurora, Colo. The plan incorporated almost a year’s worth of work by military and community members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)

Joe Elms, Air Force Space Command community planner, left, and Mark Gillem, urban planner with The Urban Collaborative who worked as a lead on the Master Plan, converse about the details of the plan for development of Buckley Air Force Base March 4, 2013, at the Aurora City Building in Aurora, Colo. The plan outlines the base development during the next five, 10 and 20 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)

Joe Elms, Air Force Space Command community planner, left, and Mark Gillem, urban planner with The Urban Collaborative who worked as a lead on the Master Plan, converse about the details of the plan for development of Buckley Air Force Base March 4, 2013, at the Aurora City Building in Aurora, Colo. The plan outlines the base development during the next five, 10 and 20 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)

AURORA, Colo. -- Following a year-long coordinated effort between Buckley Air Force Base and the local community, representatives unveiled the Master Plan for development March 4 at the Aurora City Building.

The plan is a vision for future growth and development of the base during the next 20 years, with great consideration for the benefit of the local community.

"As we look toward the future of a more sustainable and innovative base, it is imperative for us to collaborate with off-base citizens and organizations because we impact the local community just as much as the local community impacts us," said Lt. Col. Madison Morris, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron commander at Buckley Air Force Base. "Working with RTD, city representatives and citizens gave us much broader and well-informed viewpoints for developing both the vision and plan."

The Master Plan was a labor of military planning sessions, multiple community outreach events and good, old-fashioned hard work, according to Mark Gillem, urban planner with The Urban Collaborative who worked as a lead on the project. It molded the four Area Development Plans, or installation section-specific plans, into a single, focused goal for the future.

"The most important aspect was creating a clear vision," explained Gillem, who is also a professor at the University of Oregon. "We hosted a two-day workshop on base with almost 100 people showing up each day. Collaboratively, we worked together to build that vision and identify those areas we wanted to improve."

These initial vision workshops became the cornerstone that would lead to a successful planning process and a fully developed the plan, stated Joe Elms, Air Force Space Command community planner. Also, this project created a blueprint for other bases in AFSPC to follow.

"What we did at Buckley is the exact repeat of the process that we are going to put into place at all of our space command installations," Elms said. "It was an educational and empowering experience. Everybody on the installation is a stakeholder, and everybody's voice has equal volume in this process.

"We are going to start developing our installations in a more sustainable fashion," explained Elms. "We are going to (make buildings the right size for our mission), make our communities more workable and livable for the occupants, get away from the dependency on the automobile, become more dense, and use our resources more effectively."

Elms discussed that this transition from an auto park to campus-style installation would save money to those who serve on the base by reducing the cost of gas and maintenance, while creating a more livable and social community.

"This is going to positively impact the base," said Matthew Stewart, Michael Baker Corporation project manager and Master Plan consultant. "We wanted to go to a nice, green, walkable community that is sustainable. We picture Buckley becoming one of the most innovative bases in the continental United States."

Not only will the community reap the benefits of the Master Plan, but also the military members who serve at Buckley and its partner units, explained Lt. Col. William Smith, 140th Wing Colorado Air National Guard base civil engineer. The plan brought all units across all functional areas to march together in a common direction.

"We have a solid, vetted plan that is clearly the right answer for everyone involved," Smith said. "It has bulletproof planning. It has what we need."

As Buckley's Master Plan is implemented, Elms predicted the base may become "one of those famous installations that everyone wants to go to -- a place where you can live, work, shop and serve all in the same area."
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