Gibbsboro takes over former Air Force site

The 20 acre parcel will be used for open space and recreation 

The Borough of Gibbsboro has been informed that its application to obtain the Gibbsboro Air Force Station has been approved. It will take constructive possession of the property on Thursday April 15, 1999 at noon.

A competing applicant, Solid Rock Baptist Church, had sought to construct a Christian School on the site, however, the church recently withdrew its application leaving the borough as the lone applicant for the 19.83 acre tract. The acquisition is sponsored by the National Park Service under the Department of the Interior. Through the Department of Interior's program, Gibbsboro will take title to the property without cost. The base will be used for open space and recreation purposes.

The Gibbsboro Air Force station once served as an important part of the Strategic Air Command's (SAC) network of radar installations located around the periphery of the nation. Remnants of the base's history can still be found throughout the parcel. The site was originally selected to house a radar system based upon its high elevation, roughly 200 hundred feet above sea level - making it one of Southern New Jersey's highest points. The high elevation provides better imaging and longer range - added bonuses that are important to military applications. The FAA will retain a small 1.97 acre lot that houses an en route radar, exploiting the same natural features of the area that the Air Force noted decades ago.

The parcel is located just off Haddonfield-Berlin Road on the Gibbsboro/Voorhees Township border. It is near a 78 acre tract of ground already owned by Gibbsboro and a 58 acre tract on which Gibbsboro has a ten year purchase option.

Gibbsboro has one of the most comprehensive open space plans in the state. Since 1991, it has added more than 150 acres (greater than 10% of the town's land area) to its open space inventory.

Hundreds of residents of Gibbsboro and Voorhees Township signed petitions supporting Gibbsboro's effort to acquire the Air Force Base. The Camden County Mayors' Association, Camden County Environmental Commission, Gibbsboro School Board, Voorhees Township, Berlin Borough, Berlin Township and Lindenwold all adopted resolutions of support.

The Gibbsboro Environmental Commission sought support from every Environmental Commission in New Jersey. Many commissions passed resolutions of support or wrote to federal officials to express their support.

Freeholder Director Jeff Nash, on behalf of the Camden County Freeholder Board, Sixth District Senator John Adler, Sixth District Assemblyman Greenwald and Assemblywoman Previte, Governor Whitman, Congressman Rob Andrews, and United States Senators Lautenberg and Torricelli all lobbied on behalf of Gibbsboro. Gibbsboro School Superintendent Patrick Kiernan also wrote several letters of support.