As head of first, the planning LRA for Naval Air Station Brunswick, and now, the implementing LRA, Steve Levesque has been the leading force turning what could have been a devastating economic blow to Maine’s Midcoast region into an exciting reuse project full of potential for helping the area recover from the air station’s closure.
In recognition of Levesque’s vision to follow a collaborative, community-based process to plan the reuse of the Navy base and for setting a record pace for any BRAC round for the air station’s redevelopment, ADC has selected Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, for its Base Redevelopment Leadership Award.
With an optimistic outlook, Levesque’s leadership has both enriched and accelerated the redevelopment of NAS Brunswick into Brunswick Landing, a high-tech business campus focusing on aviation, renewable energy, advanced composites and education. He has drawn on the property’s assets and the strengths of the region’s workforce to provide the community with a sense of optimism regarding its economic future. Much of the success so far in promoting the base’s redevelopment can be attributed to Levesque’s strong working relationship with the Navy, the state’s congressional delegation, the governor’s office, the legislature, local officials and the business community.
Highlights of the local redevelopment authority’s accomplishments to date include:
- Gaining the FAA’s approval of the authority’s application to obtain the Navy airfield via a public benefit conveyance;
- Opening Brunswick Executive Airport and eight new businesses prior to the air station’s formal closure;
- Working with state officials to create the Jobs Tax Increment Financing program, which dedicates a portion of the state’s income tax proceeds from newly created jobs at Brunswick to the LRA;
- Gaining approval of the Maine Jobs Bond which included a $3.3 million bond package to fund property improvements at the base;
- Sponsoring a feasibility study to assess Brunswick’s capacity to host a renewable energy center; and
- Working with the state higher education system to establish a campus housing the Maine Advanced Composites Technology Center.
Levesque and the rest of the winners will be recognized next Tuesday during the Defense Community Awards lunch at the ADC 2011 Annual Conference in Norfolk.