Civic, business leaders weigh in on potential Fort Stewart cuts - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Civic, business leaders speak out against potential Ft. Stewart cuts


The U.S. Army is in the middle of a draw-down; 80,000 troops, or eight brigade, are being cut over a decade.

At a community meeting Monday, government and business leaders rallied to keep Fort Stewart from being affected.

"The community here, unlike many others, and not to take away from the Fort Hoods and Fort Blisses and Fort Campbells, relies heavily on Fort Stewart for our economy," Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown said. "We have no other big economic engine, if you will, to drive our economy."

The cuts are part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which reduces Army troops nationwide from 570,000 to 490,000 by Fiscal Year 2020.

The Army has done a study weighing the pros and cons of cuts to bases across the country. Changes could be a boon to Fort Stewart as soldiers are shifted around. That study looks at the economic impact of cutting 8,000 soldiers but also examines the effects of adding 3,000.

That's the scenario government officials and business leaders from across the Coastal Empire were championing Monday. The base doesn't just affect Liberty County, they said.

"If we were to lose those folks or a number of those folks it would significantly impact the economy of the Coastal region altogether," Hinesville Mayor James Thomas Jr. said.

Supporters say the community around the base makes Fort Stewart unique, that it's a place soldiers can call home.

"It's a vibrant community," Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette said, "where people love to come and stay and we're just happy to have our soldiers and their families here and we take care of them."

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