Almost 100 residents responded to the Army’s plan to expand Fort Benning training land by 82,800 acres, a post official said Wednesday.
After a draft environmental impact study was released May 13, residents had 45 days or until Monday to make public comments on the report that selected Stewart County as the preferred region to expand training operations. Four other alternatives include locations in Marion, Webster, Harris and Talbot counties in Georgia and Russell County in Alabama.
Residents are concerned about a wide range of issues, including the possible economic impact of losing $962,332 in tax revenue in Stewart County and keeping land in the family.
“Some said they did not want to sell,” said Monica Manganaro, a public affairs spokeswoman on post. “There is a pretty wide range based on the comments we have been getting all along. They are pretty much in line with that.”
The comments were received by telephone, certified letters, email and a court reporter available at four public meetings in Richland, Buena Vista and Waverly Hall in Georgia and Russell County in Alabama. The lion’s share of those questions voiced concerns about the loss of tax revenue if thousands of acres are removed from the Stewart County tax rolls and controlled by the government.
Ending the comment period gives the Army’s staff of real estate, training and environmental specialists a chance to start entering property before the final impact study is completed sometime in September, said George Steuber, deputy garrison commander on post.
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