State to Lease 11,000 Acres to Air Force outside of Cannon AFB
Officials from New Mexico and the Air Force are scheduled to hold a ceremony Wednesday to mark the signing of a lease for 11,000 acres needed to expand Melrose Range, which is located 25 miles west of Cannon Air Force Base.
To carry out the lease, the state land commissioner first will lease the tract to the state and then Gov. Susana Martinez (R) will assign the lease to the Air Force, reported CNJonline. Melrose Range now has 66,000 acres.
The state had planned on purchasing the land with funds allocated by the legislature and donating the parcel to the Air Force. Because the site is public trust land, the proceeds of a sale would have gone into the state’s permanent fund with only 6 percent benefiting public schools. Leasing the land will allow the Air Force’s payments to directly benefit the schools, with school systems and the Interstate Stream Commission realizing $2.7 million immediately.