Feds dedicate big bucks to help clear businesses out of JBLM flight path

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -  The Department of Defense announced it has agreed to spend $80 million to relocate and demolish a number of businesses that the military worries is too close to McChord Airfield.

Called the ‘Clear Zone,’ the portion of land just north of McChord Airfield has seen development encroachment which is an area where statistics show almost a third of all air crashes happen.

The feds, state and the city of Lakewood is now offering to buy out businesses in the area to eventually minimize the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.

The organization that helped work to bring the different government agencies together says businesses should take advantage of the offer sooner rather than later.

“It’s a much better deal to do it now while we have the money,” said Bill Adamson from the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership. “The relocation assistance, the longer we wait we don’t know what will happen to the money, we don’t what will happen to the appraised values over time.”

While crashes are rare, nearly 40 died in the same area back in the 1950’s in an air crash.

The area’s largest employer, Tactical Tailor, is already working with the city of Lakewood to relocate nearby to keep their 140 or so employees on the job.