View Full Version : U.S. Marines Buy Part Of Blount Island

06-24-03, 05:52 AM
U.S. Marines Buy Part Of Blount Island

UPDATED: 2:25 p.m. EDT June 23, 2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The U.S. Marines Corps is staking a permanent claim to Blount Island.

The Jacksonville Port Authority agreed Monday morning to a $115-million deal that will sell the Marines a portion of the land leased for its Maritime Prepositioning Ship program for the past 17 years.

This is one of the Corps largest port facilities for shipping weapons and vehicles to forces overseas.

The Marines had threatened to pull out of Jacksonville when nearby businesses at the port complained about the handling of ammunition as part of it's military readiness operation.

To ensure public safety, the military would like to control operations which occur within a 3,800-foot distance of its ship. Buildings operated by three of the port's tenants lie within this arc. Under terms of this agreement, those businesses will be moved.

Under terms of the agreement, the Navy, on behalf of the Marine Corps, will purchase from Jax Port 137 acres of largely undeveloped property within its safety arc for $9 million. Jax Port will then lease back about 30 acres of this property for vehicle storage for five, one-year terms.

The Navy also will purchase from Jax Port a restrictive use easement on another 133 acres of developed property within the arc for $10.7 million.

The Corps facility was heavily involved in shipping equipment as America was preparing to go to war in Iraq. Earlier this year, the Marines facility packed and shipped equipment to the Persian Gulf, including 270 helicopters, other vehicles and supplies for the 101st Airborne Division.

Sen. Bill Nelson, who helped get the funding through Congress, attended Monday's signing of the agreement.

"It's a win for Jacksonville," Nelson said. "It helps us as we get ready for base closing. Its going to strengthen our hand."

Previous Stories:
February 12, 2003: Blount Island Packs 101st Choppers For War
February 7, 2003: Hundreds Of 101st Airborne's Choppers Shipping Out

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