MAC and its partners get it done for Dyess

May 16, 2021Gray Bridwell, Vice President of Military Affairs

The Military Affairs Committee of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce does what it takes to protect and grow the missions of Dyess Air Force Base and to provide quality of life for its Airmen and their families.

Probably best known for its World’s Largest Barbecue, which feeds and honors the locally based military members and their families, the MAC does much, much more. And it taps a wide variety of sources to help it accomplish its goals.

The Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC), the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) and the City of Abilene have been great partners in helping with projects. Since 2017, TMPC and DCOA have pledged almost 75% of the funding for three projects – one that is completed, one that is ongoing and one that is likely to begin later this year.

Let’s look at each of them:

Perimeter Security Fence Relocation – A security fence west of the runway fell out of compliance after the Federal Aviation Administration changed rules about how far such obstructions needed to be from runways. MAC asked TMPC for DEAAG funds of about $281,000 and DCOA for a little more than $198,000. Both requests were approved. The base had already acquired the additional property to the west to facilitate making the project happen. The City of Abilene acted as project manager and fiscal agent. Bids for the 3,000 feet of fencing and clearing of brush came in well under budget, and the project was completed in 2018.

Security Access Control Center (SACC) Expansion – This project is under construction today.  If you have been to the main gate of the base this year, you’ve seen the work. The small building where you have to go to get your credentials to access the base is being more than doubled in size and 22 parking spaces are being added. Another DEAAG grant was secured for about $616,000 last year and DCOA agreed to furnish up to $536,337. Dyess had already spent about $80,000 in getting the design work done. Construction should be complete later this summer or early fall.

Flight Line Security Gate Improvements – This $3.777 million project will replace 10 security gates around the flight line with state-of-the-art equipment. This much-needed improvement has been approved for a $1.889 million DEAAG grant and more than $377,000 from DCOA. The additional $1.5 million will come from the Air Force. Logistics are still being worked out, so a timeline isn’t available yet.

The DEAAG funding for these projects comes from the State Legislature. In the last biennium, lawmakers funded $30 million for such grants. Governmental entities in the area of the state’s 16 military installations may apply for these infrastructure grants. The current Legislature is considering keeping the funding at $30 million for the next biennium. The MAC is monitoring the legislation closely.

The DCOA has been a great partner. In addition to the $1 million-plus funding for these projects, it is the largest funder for the MAC itself.

The City has been reading, willing and able to assist in these projects as asked.

Without partners, these projects would not have happened.



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