- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Ohio’s largest military base is opening up more land to private development as part of its strategy to help offset defense budget cuts.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton said it has opened nearly 80 acres next to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to future private development through its land lease program.

The site will become the seventh spot on the nearly 13-square-mile military base where the Air Force has looked for a developer to lease land and possibly build shared-use buildings, according to The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/SSVnb3).

The base now has offered more than 200 acres for potential development to academia, industry or government agencies as the defense budget has declined.

A spokesman says the Air Force museum supports leasing the land, but is not involved in the program.

National Aviation Heritage Alliance Executive Director Tony Sculimbrene said he doesn’t think developing the land on the base will detract from the museum.

“There’s plenty of ground out there,” he said. “It’s a huge place.”

Potential stakeholders are scheduled to tour the potential lease sites Wednesday, the second time since February the Air Force has led a tour of the locations both inside and just outside the base’s fence line.

The adjacent city of Riverside has a long-term plan to create the 25-year, $425 million Center of Flight project on 42 acres outside the base fence line near the museum. The city has targeted the site for office, hotel, residential, retail, restaurant and educational development.

In an attempt to make do with less money to spend, the Air Force Community Partnership Initiative has paired the base with local and state government, education and economic development leaders to look at how both sides can share resources to save money.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com