It was just a matter of time when Nellis Air Force Base officials would start talking about the residential and commercial development creeping toward their runways in the northeast part of the valley. The time has come and they are rightfully concerned. The pressure is strongest from the south and is now growing in intensity from the north and northwest, too. At this pace it'll soon be coming from all directions.
The base has a sizable economic impact on the metropolitan area. According to the officials there, it's annually somewhere around $4.2 billion. Nellis buys a lot of supplies from local businesses, from construction materials and food to fuel and all sorts of parts. It puts up visiting service members in nearby hotels and motels, filling hundreds of rooms each year.
Besides that, about 313,000 retired military have chosen to live in Sin City, in part because of the base and the services it offers. That retiree payroll climbs to $520 million per year, while the active-duty payroll tops $850 million. The impact of the retirees on real estate alone is noteworthy. They need homes to live in, they need mortgages to acquire them and they need all the related services that go with these transactions.
There is fear that new homes being built near the base could eventually force its closure. Warplanes operating from there today carry live bombs and are now facing more and more restrictions in which direction to take off to. It would be unthinkable to have even one single accident. And then there is the noise. Rapidly advancing growth will ultimately force the hand of local and Air Force officials on this one.