Potential Bombing Range in Taylor County

Eglin Air Force Base is targeting the Big Bend area for a potential bombing range, but three types of inert missiles will be launched in areas that are largely uninhabited.

Perry, Florida is a quiet sleepy town within Taylor County that will soon get a rude awakening. Eglin Air Force Base officials are considering a plan to use 45-70,000 acres of land to test three types of missiles.

Taylor is one of three counties being eyed for a site, but Air Force officials have yet to meet with county commissioners about the proposed idea.

Daryll Gunter, Taylor County Commissioner, says, "I wish Eglin Air Force Base had approached the county before the article had broke the news to give us information because just the article itself is kind of bothersome wanting places where it is less populated. We're having to develop our Eco-tourism and that may have an impact on it."

But in a statement to Eyewitness News, Eglin Air Force Base officials say, "Safety is our major driver. We will not over-fly someone's permanent residence with a weapon. The reason we're looking at those counties is because they have large uninhabited areas to help us operate safely."

The county's emergency management director says residents shouldn't be alarmed.

"Safety-wise the Air Force is number one in ensuring people's safety in any area they operate, so the issue for us as an emergency agency would be protection, response and recovery if any incident did occur," says Roy Woods, Emergency Management Director.

Air Force officials say the missiles being tested have no explosives and would be no threat to residents. Air Force officials have already met with Dixie County commissioners and plan to meet with Taylor and Levy County commissioners on April 20 on this proposed site.