Can Barnes and Westover survive in the long run?

runway

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The F-15′s and 104th Fighter Wing are back at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield.

22News discovered if it made more sense for them to stay in Chicopee.

The 104th Fighter Wing was stationed at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee from July to December.  That was so the runway at Barnes could be redone.

Friday, Governor Patrick and other people involved in that $16 million project celebrated it’s unofficial re-opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Massachusetts has invested in it’s military bases, but another round of Base Realignment and Closure or BRAC is likely coming in 2015.  We wanted to know if these two bases separated by 15 miles can survive in the long run.

“These two bases have actually grown since the last BRAC and I think that part of it was the investment that we made in the facilities”, says Congressman Richard Neal, (D) Massachusetts.

“Two different missions, reserve and guard I definitely think there’s a way both units can maintain what they’re doing”, says Col. James Keefe of the Barnes Air National Guard, 104th Fighter Wing.

The state is trying to approve a $177 million military base bond that would pay for more improvements at bases across the state.

The thinking is that the more valuable and up to date the bases are, the more difficult they will be to close.

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