Dyess AFB loses out on grant money to improve visitor's center

A B-1B Lancer takes off Oct. 2, 2014, at Dyess Air Force Base.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Peter Thompson/Released)

ABILENE, Texas - Dyess Air Force Base is not getting the $1.75 million in grant money to upgrade security at its visitor's center.

The city of Abilene applied for a grant from the Texas Military Preparedness Commission's Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) program.

The grants for Fiscal 2017 were awarded at the TMPC's Quarterly Meeting on Thursday. Dyess was not on that list. But Tom Green County and Goodfellow Air Force Base were awarded $2.04 million.

Dyess spokesperson Capt. Nicole Ferrara with the 7th Bomb Wing said the base appreciates the initiative taken by the city of Abilene.

"We are grateful for the support we receive locally and from the state at large, and we certainly want to congratulate the military communities moving forward with projects funded by the DEAAG program," Ferrara said in a statement.

KTXS reached out to the Governor's Office and Goodfellow AFB to find out how the money will be spent. John Wittman, Gov. Greg Abbott's press secretary, said the base will use the grant to renovate a building to house the international intelligence program. The program trains students from more than 30 countries.

"The International Training Center will be the cornerstone of our ability to conduct that training," said Col. Michael L. Downs, Commander, Goodfellow Air Force Base. "Ultimately, I'm excited about the impact this will have on our National Security."

Others receiving grant money:

Bexar County, Joint Base San Antonio - Randolph - $4.71 million City of Killeen, Fort Hood – $3.47 million City of Del Rio, Laughlin Air Base - $3.3 million City of El Paso, Fort Bliss - $2 million

KTXS called the Military Affairs Committee for the Abilene Chamber of Commerce to find out where the base turns next for money to fund the project. Vice President Brian Yates said if the Texas Legislature votes to fund the program for another two years, it will reapply for a grant for Fiscal 2018.

The Development Corporation of Abilene agreed to give Dyess $200,000 as a community contribution toward the grant. We have reached out to the DCOA to find out what happens to that money.

The TMPC advises the governor and the state legislature on ways to strengthen the position of Texas military installations in preparation for a potential Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and other defense-related issues.

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