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Currently an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP), K.I. Sawyer is a decommissioned U.S. Air Force Base in Marquette County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is often known as Sawyer Village.

Located near the center of the UP, the base operated for nearly forty years before closing in 1995. Today, Sawyer International Airport, operated by the county, occupies a portion of the base and offers scheduled flights and general aviation activity.

The origins were in the mid-1930s. Kenneth Ingalls Sawyer, a Marquette County road commissioner, spearheaded the development of an airport to serve the growing mining industry, as the Negaunee Airport was unable to handle the increasing demands.

In 1941, Sawyer presented his plan for a new airport, and the county board agreed to it. Shortly afterward, the United States entered into World War II, and the U.S. Army Air Force was encouraged to take over the new airfield to provide protection for Great Lakes navigation and the Soo Locks. However, the proposal was shelved at the time.

Mr. Sawyer died in 1944, and the airfield, which then consisted of one runway, was named K.I. Sawyer in his honor. The airport was used by private fliers for a few years, and Nationwide Airlines began operated commercial flights out of K.I. Sawyer in 1948.

In 1954, the U.S. Air Force began negotiations to lease the airfield, proposing a jet base that could be used by the Air Force as well as area citizens. The following year, the United States government signed a 99-year lease, and immediately began enlarging the airport and building military support facilities.

In 1956, the United States government appropriated funds to build a civil airport in Negaunee Township so that the U.S. Air Force could have sole use of K.I. Sawyer.

In 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended the closure of the K.I. Sawyer Air Base. This presented a huge economic impact, as the base and the housing area surrounding it represented the second-largest city in the Upper Peninsula.

Today, there are still a lot of empty buildings, but the residential area functioned as an unincorporated community and K.I. Sawyer was recently designated as a census-designated place for the purposes of the U.S. Census.

Besides the large airport operations, the K.I. Sawyer Heritage Air Museum operated on the airport grounds, the Red Fox Run Golf Course is just east of the airport, and the surrounding area provides hunting, fishing, boating, and winter sports opportunities, as well as venues within the CDP.

The chief routes through the community, are M-94 and M-553. Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of K.I. Sawyer includes Marquette, Negaunee, Chatham, and Ishpeming, while the unincorporated communities of Little Lake and Gwinn are within ten miles.

Topics related to the community or census-designated place known as K.I. Sawyer is appropriate for this category, as are those related to the now decommissioned K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, or websites representing any businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, or events within the community.



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