Sunday, January 18, 2009

California Dreaming near Vandenberg

State Space Center closer to reality

Janene Scully/Associate Editor
The Lompoc Record

Negotiations are nearly complete in efforts to secure a lease for 66 acres of military land eyed for a California Space Center outside Vandenberg Air Force Base’s main gate.

The California Space Authority, which has its headquarters in Santa Maria, wants to build a California Space Center on the site, part of the more than 99,000 acres that make up Vandenberg.

The ambitious education, entertainment and office complex project proposed for 66 acres off Highway 1 would cost about $175 million to build, space authority officials estimated.

“My goal is to enable that. If California Space Authority thinks there’s a business case for the California Space Center, then let’s do it,” Col. David Buck, 30th Space Wing commander, told members of the Santa Maria and Lompoc chambers of commerce. “My only thing is I can’t allow it to interfere with the mission of this base.”

Both sides still must resolve issues that involve jurisdiction and utilities, according to Buck.

His comments and statements about enabling the California Space Authority to develop the visitor center were very encouraging, according to Janice Dunn, deputy director of the California Space Authority.

“We’re thinking the request will be approved sooner rather than later,” Dunn added.

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