Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, home to the Air Mobility Command since 1917, has family-friendly neighborhoods like Belleville, New Baden, and Fairview Heights with diverse housing options for military families. Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, home to the Air Mobility Command since 1917, has family-friendly neighborhoods like Belleville, New Baden, and Fairview Heights with diverse housing options for military families.Lifestyle

Best Family Neighborhoods Near Scott Air Force Base

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Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois, was established at the start of World War I in 1917. Today, it is home to the Air Mobility Command and the U.S. Transportation Command. 13,000 people work at the base, including 5,500 active duty Air Force and 3,400 Air National Guard and Reserve professionals. It’s currently operated by the 375th Air Mobility Wing, with the Air Force Reserve Command’s 932nd Airlift Wing and Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing operated at the location.

A History of Scott Air Force Base

The need to expand the role of aviation in the U.S. Armed Forces is one of the reasons the Scott Air Force Base was originally established. The goal was to establish a location for an air base in the Midwest, and after considering numerous locations, the U.S. War Department signed a lease to do so in June 1917. With $10 million in the budget, the project got underway. The team had 60 days to build about 60 buildings for the base.

The base was named after Corporal Frank S. Scott, who was the first enlisted service member who died in an aviation crash. When it initially opened, the base was used as a training field for pilots who would later fly in World War I. The first flight took off in September of 1917. By the end of 1918, more than 300 pilots and ground units were trained and ready to go at the location.

After the war, it wasn’t clear what would happen to Scott Field, as it was known at the time, and by 1921, it was transformed into a lighter-than-air station to transfer the Army Balloon and Airship School to the area. Later, the field would once again serve as a training destination when World War II broke out. During the war, the location aimed to train skilled radio operators.

With the foundation of the U.S. Air Force in September of 1947, Scott Field was renamed Scott Air Force Base. Numerous groups and fleets would operate throughout the area in the years following. In June 2014, the location added two cybersecurity squadrons with a $16 million infrastructure improvement that also added 300 additional people.

The Best Family Neighborhoods Near Scott Air Force Base

The location of Scott Air Force Base puts it in the heart of the Midwestern region. There are numerous communities and small neighborhoods throughout this region, and many of those who live off-base can easily commute to the base for work. The following are some of the best locations for families near Scott Air Force Base.

Belleville, Illinois A city located in St. Clair County, Belleville, is about 20 minutes from the base itself. It is a modern, middle-class community that’s home to about 42,000 people. It’s one of the larger cities in the region, providing excellent access to good schools, many neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and sports programs for all members of the family. Belleville is home to the Belleville Philharmonic Society and has numerous historic properties on the National Register of Historic Places, including Knobeloch-Seibert Farm and Gustave Koerner House.

Belleville also has a thriving real estate market with single-family homes, condos, townhomes, apartments, and multi-family properties available. The average price of a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home here was $178,000 at the end of 2023, though home values range from $100,000 up to $250,000. Home rental prices range from $675 up to $3,000, depending on the type of home and location.

New Baden, Illinois Another neighborhood within a short drive of the base is New Baden, which is just a short 20-minute drive down State Route 161. The city is much smaller, with about 3,400 people calling it home. It’s easy to access just off I-64. A small, charming community, it is a noted German community, with its founding in 1838, mainly made up of German immigrants. Much of the heritage of this community pays homage to this. It is a modern town, though, with good schools, outstanding parks, open spaces, and a few smaller restaurants and shops. There are several churches in this area. Homes are smaller single-family properties with some condos included. You can expect a wide range of property options on the market, with a median sale price of about $188,000 at the end of 2023. Rentals are somewhat limited but tend to be priced at $1,200 up to $3,200 per month for single-family homes for sale.

Fairview Heights, Illinois About 25 minutes from the base is the moderately sized town of Fairview Heights. This community spans about 11 square miles and is home to around 17,000 people. You’ll find it’s one of the best areas for quiet side streets, neighborhood parks, and small restaurants and shops that are locally owned. The students here typically attend the Pontiac William Holliday School District 105 or Grant-Illini District 110. It’s also home to a more significant recreation center with sports programs and the St. Clair Square Mall.

Single-family homes dominate this market, with a median sold price of around $165,000 at the end of 2023. There are more home rental options in this community, with options ranging from $700 up to $3,000 per month.

Which community near Scott Air Force Base is right for your needs? These examples are some of the best family-friendly neighborhoods worth taking a closer look at for those considering a move to the area.

Living near Scott Air Force Base presents unique considerations and opportunities for military personnel and their families. Understanding the nuances of both on-base and off-base living options can significantly enhance one's overall experience and sense of community.

Exploring On-Base and Off-Base Housing Options

Residing on base at Scott Air Force Base offers the convenience of proximity to work, fostering a strong sense of camaraderie within the military community. However, on-base living may come with certain restrictions and limited housing options. Off-base living provides more independence and diverse housing choices but may require a commute and additional expenses.

Discovering Community Amenities and Activities

The neighborhoods near Scott Air Force Base offer a variety of amenities and activities for military families, including parks, recreational facilities, and community events. Scott Air Force Base also hosts events such as air shows and military appreciation days, providing unique opportunities for families to engage with the broader community. Explore local resources and organizations to find family-friendly activities and opportunities for social engagement.

Building Connections within the Military Community

Engaging in community events, support groups, and military-sponsored programs is a fantastic way to forge new connections and friendships. Scott Air Force Base is home to various units and commands, including the 618th Air Operations Center and the Air Force Network Integration Center, offering diverse professional and social networking opportunities. Attend social gatherings, join spouse clubs or volunteer organizations, and participate in base-sponsored activities to connect with fellow military families and personnel. Contact local organizations and resources, such as the Family Readiness Group (FRG) or military-affiliated churches, for support and camaraderie. Building strong connections within the military community provides a sense of belonging and creates a valuable support network during deployments, training exercises, and other challenges that military life may bring. Don't hesitate to get involved and reach out to others—these connections often make living near Scott Air Force Base feel like home.

Navigating Transportation and Commuting Options

Scott Air Force Base provides transportation services for residents, such as shuttles, buses, and carpooling options within the area. Additionally, being near St. Louis offers access to a central metropolitan area with additional transportation options. Owning a vehicle may be necessary for those living off-base, but consider carpooling with neighbors or utilizing rideshare services to reduce commuting costs and environmental impact. By familiarizing yourself with these unique aspects and available resources, you can optimize your experience living near Scott Air Force Base and thrive within the military community.

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