A Base Conversion (As it might be)

Imagine this: It's the year 2001, seven years since the Navy closed its large base adjacent to "the city." You've been invited to tour the site. You arrive on one of the hydrofoil ferries serving the area and here's what you see:

· At the hub of the former base is a constellation of buildings which you quickly learn is an integrated complex of environmental companies. Each was designed not only to provide ecologically sound products and services but also to use each other's by-products and to generate a range of jobs at various skill levels.

- One firm cleans up toxic contamination. It got its start decontaminating the base, using a number of the installation's former civilian workers to do the job.

- Several others manufacture useful products using recycled materials.

- Some of these firms are owned by their workers and members of the community.

- A partnership with a nearby university enhances the research and development capability of the complex which, collectively, provides nearly twice the jobs of the former base.

· An array of tastefully designed housing units lies along the periphery.

- Some, from the base's original housing stock, were assigned to homeless people, a number of whom are now employed by the newly created companies.

- A lot of new housing has been built as well, including single family homes, a condominium complex and a number of rental units.

- Solar collectors provide heating and electricity for the residences.

- A limited equity housing cooperative was established to manage some of the residential property.

- All these homes are within easy biking distance of the businesses.

· The facilities of the old base have been re-used in a variety of ways.

- A former Navy training facility has been converted into a vocational and employment center, geared initially toward former civilian employees and now serving citizens in the wider community.

- An elementary school is located nearby in a refurbished building.

- The former dispensary has become a high quality health clinic.

- The former gymnasium is now a popular community theater.

- The old Navy slips are now used as a commercial marina.

· The installation's open space has also been rejuvenated.

- Wetlands have been restored to a pristine condition and host a variety of water fowl.

- Other open spaces are now used as community gardens, parks and recreational complexes.

· The area adjacent to the former base has been transformed as well.

- An array of markets and small shops now inhabit the nearby commercial strip and have proven popular with people both on and off the base, serving as the community center for that part of town.

- A small business incubator/business park is under construction nearby. Its emphasis will be upon promoting women and minority-owned firms.