OAKLAND, CA-A $2.4 million federal grant for the conversion of the decommissioned Oakland Army Base was handed over to local officials yesterday during an economic conference.

The public works grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration is the federal share of the $3.2 million project to convert the base from military use to light industrial, commercial and maritime development.

The federal money will enable the Oakland Base Reuse Authority, the agency charged with guiding the project, to design and engineer the core infrastructure for the city’s planned Gateway Development Area at the former Oakland Army Base.

Aliza Gallo, executive director of the reuse authority, says the goal is to convert the former Army base into “a signature entryway to the East Bay and a vital part of Oakland’s economy.” The plan for development of the former Army base calls for the site to be integrated into the surrounding city and opened to the public.

The Oakland Army Base was commissioned on Dec. 8, 1941. During World War II, the base shipped 8.5 million tons of cargo as an expansion facility of Fort Mason in San Francisco. The base later played a role in the Korean War, Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm before its decommissioning in September 1999, according to the reuse authority.

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