SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Neighbors in Coronado and Imperial Beach got their first look at expansion plans for Naval Base Coronado.
Residents could be in for a decade of construction if the $700 million plan, called Naval Base Coronado Coastal Campus, goes through.
A Navy commander says since 9-11 congressional mandates have grown the Navy's Special Forces like the SEALS and engineers say their operating out of "the Stone Age".
“The facilities that they are in are very old, they have grown a lot in the last 10 years and the Coastal Campus initiative will provide them an opportunity to build new state-of-the-art facilities where they can train, operate, they will have a logistic,” said Naval Base Coronado Captain Chris Sund.
On Wednesday, at an informal Q&A in Imperial Beach, Navy personnel and engineers answered questions and concerns about the Environmental Impact Statement for the Naval Base Coronado Costal Campus.
In the Environmental Impact Statement the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) facilities will be moved to a campus that would have a mix of instructional and administrative facilities to support logistics, operations, training and administrations.
The plan states there are 60 NSWC facilities across Naval Base Coronado so the Navy will have four alternatives to consider:
Alternative 1 would merge all of the NSWC in Silver Strand Training Complex South and demolition of Building 99 (a bunker eligible for the National Registrar of Historic Places).
Alternative 2 would include all of the components from Alternative 1 except it would retain Building 99 rather than be demolished.
Alternative 3 includes all of the components from Alternative 1, except Building 99 would be retained and Alternative 3 would be located on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Naval Air Station North Island and Silver Strand Training Complex South.
A member of the Coronado Transportation Commission was at Wednesday's meeting and asked questions about the traffic impact.
"80 percent of the people would move rather than coming through Coronado. They are now going to go down I-5 and Imperial Beach to this facility which is beneficial for Coronado because it takes that much traffic off the streets,” said John Tato.
The Imperial Beach mayor sees the traffic issue as an opportunity.
“There are economic benefits for imperial beach perhaps with more active duty military using our facilities and storefronts in town,” said Mayor Jim Janney.
Many residents are supportive of the plan and so is Diane Ratigan who has lived a total of 40 years in Imperial Beach and Coronado but she is skeptical of the plan, “Very slick presentation. A lot of money went into selling this.”
Public comment for the Environmental Impact Statement will be taken until September 22.
The final statement will be released next spring and construction could start next year.
Another public meeting for an open-house is scheduled for Thursday, August 14 in Coronado at in the Winn Room at the Coronado Public Library from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Comments will be taken orally or written during public meetings or you can submit a comment via U.S. Postal Service (letters must be stamped on or before Sept. 22):
NBC Coastal Campus EIS Project Manager
Attn: Ms. Teresa Bresler
2730 McKean Street
San Diego, CA 92136
Comments will not be accepted through social media.