Tyndall AFB Holds Public Forum on Waterway Restrictions - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Tyndall AFB Holds Public Forum on Waterway Restrictions

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Some of the uniqueness surrounding Tyndall Air Force Base is also creating what base officials call vulnerability. That's why they hope to create a buffer in the waterways around the base which has many in the surrounding community on edge.

"You've never done any studies you've never done any work to look at scenarios and threats to put us all through this?" said Tom Gilmore, a concerned citizen at Thursdays town hall meeting.

Right now, Tyndall doesn't have law enforcement abilities in the water off the bases coast, but a proposal drafted by the Army Corps of Engineers would allow that ability during times of heightened risk.

"We hope to never have to enact any portion of any restricted area and that's what we are here to talk about tonight," said Major Anthony McCarty, Commander of the 325th Security Forces Squadron.

Some in the crowd Thursday disagreed with the drafted parameters stating the 500 foot buffer would simply add more to have to defend.

"Because most anybody would know if you are going to try to defend area an you're going to try and make the area as small as possible so you can try to protect it reasonable and effectively," commented one man.  

Brad Stephens of Sunjammers Watersports proposed an ID check during "restricted" times where commercial and recreational fisherman wouldn't have to endure the wait to get a pass to be in the waters.

"The current administration at Tyndall say it will they have plans absolutely no affect on us whatsoever," said Stephens. "It's 10, 15, 20 years down the road that people start implying and start assuming what these original people thought and absolutely it is going to get worse and worse."

"Day in and day out absolutely nothing will change with regard to the waterways surrounding Tyndall Air Force Base," said McCarty. "But, should a threat arise, and we hope that it doesn't, but should a threat arise this allows us the flexibility to be able to best protect Tyndall Air Force Base from that threat.

Major McCarty said tonight there will be another public forum where those in the community will have an opportunity to voice their opinions before the final draft is sent to the Army Corps of Engineers.

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