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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Editorial: Public duty to comment on Army 2020, improve future of Fort Leonard Wood

  • A recent study by the U.S. Army found that eliminating up to 3,900 civilian and military jobs on Fort Leonard Wood would have “no significant impact” on our region.
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  • A recent study by the U.S. Army found that eliminating up to 3,900 civilian and military jobs on Fort Leonard Wood would have "no significant impact" on our region.
    Anyone who calls Fort Leonard Wood, St Robert or Waynesville home knows the impact the military base has on our communities.
    It defines the economic, cultural, social and educational diversity of the area, leading us to believe that the Army's Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), which says there would be no significant impact on our area, must be flawed.
    Fort Leonard Wood serves as the area's leading employer, provide a workforce of more than 9,000 civilians workers and military permanent party.
    In fact, the installation projects an annual impact of roughly $3 million, excluding indirect impacts such as revenue creating.
    For these reasons and more, Forbes Magazine recently named Fort Leonard Wood third in the nation for fastest growing small towns.
    But according to PEA, reducing 41 percent of Fort Leonard Wood's staff would not significantly impact our area.
    The PEA is an analysis of the environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with potential adjustments to the Army at 21 installations, including Fort Leonard Wood. It is a projection of Army force structure reductions and realignment that may occur through 2020 in order to reduce the size of the Army.
    We can't take these findings lying down.
    The study only provided an overview for the economic impact for several counties, including Laclede, Phelps and Pulaski and failed to focus on the the county most impacted (Pulaski). Had they focused solely on Pulaski, the estimated economic significance would be much greater.
    The PEA also failed to recognize the major impact of the Waynesville School District, a district that has invested millions in the last few years on new facilities with 60 percent of its students being military dependents and 15 percent civilian dependents. These changes could significantly reduce the district's population.
    The Army has opened a public comment period, and it is our obligation as community members to change this.
    The Army needs to know that this would leave a devastating impact on our area.
    The Army needs to know that Fort Leonard Wood is an essential military base that it should consider expanding, not downsizing. Fort Leonard Wood's military construction projects that are currently underway or pending start total more than $275 billion. The cost of living in the region is low and the support of the military is high. It would simply be a bad business move for the Army to downsize Fort Leonard Wood.
    While we can't do anything right now but wait for the impacts of the sequester to start hitting, we can do something about this.
    Page 2 of 2 - Please visit sustainableozarks.com/calltoaction to comment on the survey and help improve the future of our community. The deadline to comment is Thursday, March 21. We must let the Army know that we care about Fort Leonard Wood and that we encourage its growth, not reduction.
    realignment that may occur through 2020 in order to reduce the size of the Army.
    We can't take these findings lying down.
    The study only provided an overview for the economic impact for several counties, including Laclede, Phelps and Pulaski and failed to focus on the the county most impacted (Pulaski). Had they focused solely on Pulaski, the estimated economic significance would be much greater.
    The PEA also failed to recognize the major impact of the Waynesville School District, a district that has invested millions in the last few years on new facilities with 60 percent of its students being military dependents and 15 percent civilian dependents. These changes could significantly reduce the district's population.
    The Army has opened a public comment period, and it is our obligation as community members to change this.
    It needs to know that this would leave a devastating impact on our area.
    The Army needs to know that Fort Leonard Wood is an essential military base that it should consider expanding, not downsizing. Fort Leonard Wood's military construction projects that are currently underway or pending start total more than $275 billion. The cost of living in the region is low and the support of the military is high. It would simply be a bad business move for the Army to downsize Fort Leonard Wood.
    While we can't do anything right now but wait for the impacts of the sequester to start hitting, we can do something about this.
    Please visit sustainableozarks.com/calltoaction to comment on the survey and help improve the future of our community. The deadline to comment is Thursday, March 21. We must let the Army know that we care about Fort Leonard Wood and that we encourage its growth, not reduction

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