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Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base Slated for Closing

By Eileen Buckley

Niagara Falls, NY – The news from the Pentagon is not good for the Western New York region. Friday morning U.S. Defense Department leaders released the list of military facilities to be closed, realigned or expanded. Among those listed for closure is the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base is the second largest employer in Niagara County with a 150-million dollar economic impact on the Western New York community.

Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base spokesman Neil Nolf the loss of the base will send ripples.

"We are a resource for the Western New York area. About a hundred mile radius is where we get all of our recruits from, and all our personnel," said Nolf. "And, of course, they live and work in the community. These folks are community resources - this is where their home is. It's not like an active duty base where they can pick up the base and move it to any place in the country. These are all local, Western New Yorkers."

Nolf said the air reserve base is much like a small city, employing security police, firemen, engineers and many more.

But the local Western New York Congressional Delegation said it will fight to keep the Niagara Falls Base open.

U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, as well as U.S. Congress Members Thomas Reynolds and Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter are expected to meet with reporters at noon to outline their efforts.

Slaughter issued a statement expressing her "deep disappointment" with the decision to include the Niagara Falls Base in the closure list. But she said "it is not the final verdict."