Congressman Kingston to Help Oher Parts of Georgia Fight Base Closures
Vows to work with other members of Georgia's delegation to save or redevelop facilities
While pleased that none of the 1st District's five military bases will be closing, Congressman Jack Kingston (R/GA-1) has pledged to help the Georgia communities who were not so fortunate in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
"We did very well in South Georgia, but Atlanta and Athens did not fare so well," Congressman Kingston said. "I will join Congressman Phil Gingrey and other members of the Georgia delegation in working to make sure these communities come out with positive growth and economic development.
"Losing any base in Georgia is not good for the state's economy," Congressman Kingston said. "But past base closures have shown that communities that lose facilities were most successful when they started working with their congressional delegations as soon as possible to redevelop their bases."
Among the Georgia bases marked for closure by the Defense Department are Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem in Atlanta, Naval Air Station Atlanta and Naval Supply Corps School in Athens.
The U.S. Army has set a goal of executing the six-year BRAC closing plan in just four-years. The Army has an aggressive redevelopment and re-use plan which includes hiring a Real Property Marketing Consultant to maximize re-use for local communities.
"Soon, there will be 32,000 troops returning from bases overseas to 23 bases in the U.S.," Congressman Kingston said. "The Army is looking for locations for those troops now and we would love to offer them a few alternatives here in Georgia."
Should the bases remain on the closure list, Congressman Kingston hopes to find viable economic opportunities for the communities.
"There is life after a military base closes, but you have to get out front and work fast," Congressman Kingston said. "We've seen it happen here in Georgia. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick sits on the site of the former Glynco Naval Air Station.
"When England Air Force Base in Alexandria, Louisiana closed in 1991, the community formed the England Economic and Industrial Development Authority to quickly transfer the base land and infrastructure to the community and identify companies to lease it. In a short amount of time, the state found over 60 tenants who now employ over 1,800 people, more than double the civilian employment at base when it closed. The Airpark handles 80,000 passengers a year and with lease and other revenues of over $5 million a year, it's economically self-sufficient."