Located within the western Riverside County region of Southern California, March Air Force Base (AFB) encompassed approximately 6,500 acres straddling Interstate 215 (Highway 395) just south of Highway 60. March AFB was first established as a military installation in 1918, and has operated almost continually since. In July, 1993, March AFB was selected to be realigned, and subsequently converted from an active duty base to a Reserve Base, effective April 1, 1996. The decision to realign March AFB resulted in approximately 4,400 acres of property and facilities being declared surplus and available for disposal actions, as well as joint use of the airfield.
Prior to base realignment, the base employed over 10,000 military personnel and civilian employees. The existence of the base in its pre-realignment condition contributed an estimated $500 million annually to the regional economy. With the announcement of realignment, the regional economic loss with the change in military mission at March was immediately recognized. While base realignment and the associated loss to the region came at an inopportune time, the opportunities relative to the planning and implementation of new uses and providing for unmet needs of the region have arisen.
The March JPA is planning and implementing new uses for currently vacant lands, reuse of existing facilities, and joint use of the airfield facilities for the development of an air cargo facility. In short, long-term economic gains in the form of developing a civilian air cargo center, and the growth and development of an employment center to account for 38,000 jobs, are projected.