Capt. Dale: ‘From where I sit ... it’s going to be positive’

China Lakers predict another prosperous year

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Capt. Dale: ‘From where I  sit ... it’s going to be positive’The overall projections presented at the Feb. 28 Indian Wells Valley Economic Outlook Conference were optimistic about continued growth this year — and the message from Capt. Paul Dale, commanding officer of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

“I’m here to tell you — from where I sit, going forward into 2019-20, it’s positive,” said Dale. “For a place in the middle of the Mojave Desert, it’s absolutely unbelievable how busy the installation is.”

He likened the activity on base to a duck who appears to be calmly floating across the water, while his feet paddle furiously under the surface. “That’s an apt analogy.”

The installation and its various tenants employ 5,057 people, with that engine driving an additional 3,849 indirect jobs in the surrounding community.

The base has a $1.2 billion impact on the economy, and generates a payroll of $503 million. Last year, base-related visitors spent about 156,191 days in local hotels, generating another $25 million in local spending.

Dale said that the economic impact is just a snapshot in time, but it is “useful in demonstrating yet again that there is no arguing the missions directly and indirectly impact well-being and quality of life in this valley and surrounding communities.”

He also went into the numerous projects underway to improve and modernize infrastructure on base — from water, sewer and power lines to new fiber to new hangars.

“We have much more to do, but it’s a priority to get done despite finite resources.”

Dale said that the Navy is partnering, where possible, with other entities to increase efficiencies.

As one example, he noted that China Lake officials traveled to Washington, D.C., with Sierra Sands Unified School District representatives to meet with the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to discuss grant possibilities for addressing infrastructure deficiencies at Richmond Elementary School.

In closing, Dale acknowledged a letter from the Navy, a non-voting member of the IWV Groundwater Advisory Board.

“I will not repeat the entirety of the letter’s content, but will take this opportunity to reiterate one element of the letter, which is that offices within the U.S. Navy have deemed groundwater resources as the No. 1 encroachment concern and issue which has the potential to impact missions enabled on and around NAWSCL.”

See related story, this edition.

Story First Published: 2019-03-15