Talk Business:

By Aric Mitchell

The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) has won the Association of Defense Communities’ Base Redevelopment Excellence Award for its efforts at Chaffee Crossing.

The federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended in 1995 the permanent closure of Fort Chaffee, then an active U.S. Army post with around 72,000 acres. The federal government opted to lease 65,000 acres to the Arkansas Army National Guard to be used for training. The remaining 7,000+ acres were turned returned to civilian authorities for reuse. The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority was formed in 1997 and began the process of converting the property to industrial, commercial, residential and recreational use.

Owen called it “one of the biggest events in our history,” and said the award represented in part the more than 1,600 jobs and $1.3 billion in capital investments made at Chaffee Crossing over the last 15 years. For almost 10 of those years, the organization has been under Owen’s leadership, and that’s something he has no intention of stopping any time soon.

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