Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Vallejo City officials heading to Washington

City officials heading to Washington

By CHRIS G. DENINA, Times-Herald staff writer

City officials plan to visit Washington, D.C. next week to lobby for Mare Island cleanup, a downtown renewal project and sparing Travis Air Force Base from a future round of base closures.

A delegation including Mayor Tony Intintoli Jr. and City Manager David Martinez plans to leave Sunday and return Nov. 20 after meeting with high-level military and federal officials.

This year, Mare Island is at the top of the Vallejo group's agenda for the annual trip.

The city wants to convince the government to separately transfer ownership of the former naval base's north end, known as Area 1, and an industrial area known as Area 10 near the south end, officials said.

That would allow the city to take control of Area 1 from the federal government without waiting for the other site to be ready for transfer, Martinez said.

The Vallejo City Council recently extended until next October negotiations on Area 1 with the development team of Weston Solutions Inc. and Harvest Properties.

"We've got a developer ready to go but their hands are tied until this issue can be resolved," Martinez said. "We're going back there basically to untie their hands."

The city also hopes to secure federal dollars for cleaning up environmental contamination left by the Navy. Mare Island's 120-acre north end represents many jobs to the city and, once developed, will serve as an "economic engine" for the rest of the island.

"We need to go back and fight for getting that money," Martinez said.

The Vallejo group also plans to ask for more money to help Triad Development Inc.'s $125 million downtown renewal project, officials said.

They also plan to fight for Travis' future. A new list of base closures is expected in 2005, Martinez said.

"We've trying to keep Travis off the list," Martinez said. "Travis is a regional economic engine. Many people that work in Travis live throughout the county, including Vallejo. It would be an economic blow."

After the closing of Mare Island Naval Shipyard in 1996, the city should protect the area's remaining major base, Intintoli said.

"There's a very significant impact on us," the mayor said. "It probably wouldn't have the full impact of the base closure of Mare Island, but it would be a serious impact."

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