BUNKER HILL – Grissom Air Reserve Base isn’t as loud as it used to be, according to a new report.

An air-installation study recently completed by Air Force officials found the overall noise impact of the base has decreased by 20 percent over the last two decades.

Base command chief Col. Doug Schwartz said Grissom isn’t as noisy because the number of flight operations has significantly declined since it was realigned as a reserve base in 1994.

He said quieter engines in the base’s KC-135R Stratotankers also contributed to the noise reduction.

The drop in noise pollution occurred despite the fact that civilian air traffic has picked up since Grissom became a joint-use facility with businesses like Montgomery Aviation and Dean Baldwin Painting, which use its runway and taxiways for their operations.

The Air Force conducted the first noise study at Grissom in 1978 to analyze the effects of aircraft noise, accident potential and land-use compatibility at the base.

That study was conducted again in 1995, just after Grissom realigned as a reserve base.

The new report recommends new planning and zoning guidelines for nearby communities to ensure future compatibility with the base’s operations.

Col. Schwartz said he hopes local officials will use the study as a tool to determine what type of development is appropriate around Grissom.

“We all know this area will be developed,” he said. “What will it look like in 15 or 20 years? There’s a lot of exciting things happening, but without these kinds of studies to do proper development, we could get in each other’s way. We all just want to be good neighbors.”

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said although a reduction in noise pollution means some areas around the base may be more compatible for residential development, the county must remain cautious about allowing construction too close to Grissom.

“Even though there’s been a reduction, we continually need to coordinate with the base and people looking to develop around it to make sure we don’t do anything to jeopardize our aviation potential,” he said.

Tidd said the county will incorporate the findings of the study into its new comprehensive plan, which is set to be finished by the end of the year.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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