Norwalk gets 15 acres for park space

NORWALK – President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week which includes an amendment that facilitates the transfer of a portion of the U.S. Air Force Norwalk Defense Fuel Supply Point, also known as the Norwalk Tank Farm, to the City of Norwalk. The amendment was introduced as a stand-alone bill by Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA-38) earlier this year and then later included as part of the NDAA legislation.

The Dec. 19 passage is the final step in a long process to have 15 of the 51 acres at the site designated for public use and transferred to the City of Norwalk free of cost.

“Today’s news means the people of Norwalk can look forward to enjoying a new recreational space in their community,” said Rep. Sánchez. “For over 20 years, local leaders have tirelessly advocated for an opportunity to transform the blighted space. I am pleased that my staff and I were able to provide the support necessary to have their efforts come to fruition.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the City of Norwalk as we explore options to transform the 15 acres of land into a space our community can enjoy.”

Located next to Holifield Park, the Norwalk Defense Fuel Supply Point was used by the U.S. Air Force to store jet fuel supplies from the 1950’s until 2001.

For years, the City of Norwalk has advocated to have a portion of the land allocated as open space for the community.

“Rarely does an opportunity arise where a single piece of legislation can so dramatically transform an obsolete asset into a dynamic community resource,” said Mayor Marcel Rodarte. “We applaud the efforts of Rep. Sanchez and the support of the US Air Force to help our community see progress on its long-standing vision to revitalize the area.

“This is well-crafted legislation that is a win-win-win for everyone, especially the public,” the mayor added.

Norwalk officials said the city has been working with the Air Force for more than two decades on efforts to clean up the fuel tank property and convey it to the city.

“Extensive environmental restoration has been underway at the Norwalk Tank Farm site since 1994 and continues today,” city officials said in a statement.

A private firm built the tank farm in the 1920s at the southeast corner of Norwalk Boulevard and Excelsior Drive.

The U.S. Air Force acquired the depot in 1951.

When it operated, the tank farm had 12 fuel storage tanks capable of holding 38 million gallons.

The facility provided fuel for military facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada.

 

**********

Published: Dec. 25, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 37