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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rob Ortt
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION — The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station will receive $500,000 in state funding to establish an emergency management hub, State Sen. Rob Ortt announced Tuesday.

The funds were put into the 2015-16 State Budget (Empire State Development Corporation, Aid to Localities, S. 2003-C) to help base retention efforts for NFARS.

“As elected officials, we need coordinated efforts at the local, state, and federal level to ensure NFARS remains a vital center of military, commercial, and emergency services for our region,” said Ortt. “By focusing on the emergency management component, we’re strengthening not only the base, but community safety as well. These public-private partnerships – with collaboration at the local, county, state, and federal level – is key to the base’s future.

The funds are designed to enhance the base’s strategic value within the Department of Defense and its economic importance to Western New York. Officials hope to expand operations for crews – including local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, volunteer firefighters, and Mercy Flight WNY – to utilize the base’s hangers for emergency services purposes.

As Niagara County’s largest employer, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is an economic driver for the region bringing in nearly $150 million annually. It accounts for more than 3,000 full-time and part-time personnel with an estimated annual payroll of $88 million. NFARS sits adjacent to an international border and is within the proximity of a population of 140 million. It has played a critical role in military missions abroad as well as disaster response here at home.

NIMAC member Jeff Glatz said, “This is the result of a cooperative effort with Senator Ortt to not only preserve the base in its current capacity, but to grow the NFARS into a joint use facility between military and civilian entities.”

Mercy Flight Representative President Doug Baker said, “Utilizing the pre-existing assets of the Niagara Falls air base will help expand our emergency services presence in Orleans and Niagara County. We’re thankful to have a partner in Senator Ortt to help residents obtain more efficient access to life-saving services.”

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