March 1, 2009  

Hotel fantasy

TO THE AIR FORCE for its fanciful notion of turning part of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., into a beach resort hotel. (This is not a joke.) Eglin and Air Force Materiel Command have drafted a 190-page proposal to lease a chunk of Air Force-owned beachfront property in Florida and transform it into a resort. The Air Force has a name for its project paradise: Emerald Beach Resort. And it has even dreamed up a military justification for this haven-by-the-sea. According to an Eglin news release, “Base leadership envisions a first-rate hotel that would be available to military and civilians and could provide greater mission capabilities for monitoring testing and training over the Gulf of Mexico.” Say what? This is not a reference to use of the resort’s planned restaurants, bars, pools and shops, but rather to a stipulation that the developer must provide rooftop space for Air Force radars. Real estate and resort management is not the job of the Air Force. If the Air Force has no need for this land, it should sell it, quit wasting time courting property developers and hotel chain managers, and get back on mission.