The Bee Development Authority is a Defense Base Authority. In 1993 the Chase Field Naval Air Training Facility in Beeville, Texas, was closed following a recommendation by the Base Closure and Realignment Committee. In 2001 the Bee Development Authority came into being under the enabling state legislation through the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990. The Bee Development Authority’s staff is charged with the duty of marketing Chase Field Industrial Complex as well as Beeville and Bee County.
“Positively affect the economic development at Chase Field and the surrounding areas of Beeville and Bee County.”
In response to the ever-increasing need to accelerate the Navy’s aviation training, midway through World War II the U.S. government leased the Beeville Municipal Airport, then under construction southeast of Beeville in Bee County on U.S. Highway 202. Chase Field was developed and was first commissioned in June 1943 as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station for naval aviators. Following the end of the war, Chase Field Naval Station was closed in November, 1946 and then recommissioned in July, 1954. In its second life it has been credited with training approximately one-third of the U.S. Navy pilots and employed approximately 2,500 military and civilians.
For many years Chase Field continued to train pilots until September of 1991 when the Base Closure and Realignment Commission placed Chase Field on the closure list. The community fought hard and long, but the decision to close Chase field was finalized by Congressional and Presidential acceptance. Chase Field closed its doors in 1993. The federal government transferred control to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and the City of Beeville. The City acquired 1,591 acres of land and the aviation facilities, and runways with the balance of buildings and 300 acres of land going to TDCJ. The City of Beeville officially acquired title to Chase Field in 1998.
In October of 1992 the community of Beeville formed the Beeville-Bee County Redevelopment Authority, a 501c corporation. The Authority was charged with the guidance of planning and re-development of Chase Field and the economy of Beeville, Bee County and the surrounding area. In August of 2001 legislation was introduced creating the Bee Development Authority (BDA) under the Defense Closure Act of the State of Texas. The formation gave the BDA broader powers and the ability to work with state and federal economic development programs and enhance the ability to procure grants.