The Navy's top admiral for the controversial outlying jet training field project says he is "encouraged."
One would think, after Gates County, North Carolina citizens came out in droves this week voicing opposition to the OLF that Navy leaders might be discouraged.
After all, five Virginia county boards of supervisors have done the same thing in recent weeks, but Navy Fleet Forces Vice Commander, Rear Admiral Dave Anderson says there is much behind-the-scenes conversation taking place.
"I have my staff going back and meeting one on one with the county commissioners, the county administrators, the non-elected administrators for the county and sitting down at the table and saying, 'Ok, what do you perceive we're really trying to do here,'" said Anderson.
Watch the report He says his team is trying to move the conversation away from emotion, and steer it towards facts, like the 52 full time jobs and $2.8 million in salaries the OLF will create, and of the possible state reimbursement for lost property tax revenues.
Anderson says the OLF can be a "win-win" for everyone involved.
"I want to find the site where if I've got to move a person, an individual family out of their house, how can I make their life better after this comes in than before it came in,” said Anderson.
Anderson says some of local governments that have opposed the OLF, "Have no clue of what they were voting against."
He says the behind the scenes dialogue will continue.
As far as a final site being agreed upon eventually, and an OLF getting built, Anderson says he's more convinced than ever that the OLF project is going to go forward and that a field will be up and running by the Navy's targeted date of 2012.