It may take a while for people to forget about the Brunswick Naval Air Station, a fixture in the community and regional economy since World War II.

But there are plenty of signs that the loss of the Navy presence, which officially ended Tuesday, may not be as traumatic as some predicted when the base was designated for closure six years ago.

A new sign was posted outside the main gate Wednesday, and instead of identifying the sprawling 3,200-acre campus as a military installation, it read “Brunswick Landing, Maine’s center for innovation.”

Eight new companies are already operating there or are coming soon, and collectively they will replace the 650 civilian jobs that were lost.

The old Navy airfield and hangars are expected to attract other aviation businesses as well as partnerships with community college and state university systems, giving civic leaders in the Brunswick area a sense of optimism about their future.

Which is not to say that people were wrong to be concerned when Brunswick was on the list of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

Losing the Navy presence has been a hardship for a number of local businesses, which relied on the patronage of base personnel.

It has flooded the local market with rental housing and led to the closure of an elementary school, no longer needed because of declining enrollment.

But the fact that the impact has not been worse is a testament to all the people who have worked hard to make it possible to imagine life without the Navy.