Final push in the battle for Fort Polk - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Final push in the battle for Fort Polk

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LEESVILLE, La., (KNOE 8 News) -In a final push to elicit community support for growing Fort Polk, members of Fort Polk Progress addressed community members in a town hall meeting there this week.

In the meeting, Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese updated community members of recent activity by the group to influence the Department of the Army's upcoming decision concerning troop strength at Fort Polk.

Most recently, Fort Polk Progress, along with by Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the Louisiana Army National Guard, provided testimony to the Louisiana House of Representatives Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs concerning the full impact of Fort Polk on the State of Louisiana, including the negative economic impact to the state if Fort Polk were to lose 5,300 troops, which is one of three alternatives the Army is considering where the base is concerned.

In addition, Fort Polk Progress told community members that an unofficial count by the Department of the Army of comments concerning growth at Fort Polk outnumbered comments about other bases by 3 to 1. However, Fort Polk Progress reminded community members that the count was not final and urged every citizen of the State to submit a comment in support of growing Fort Polk to by midnight tonight, when the commenting period on The Department of the Army's pending decision concerning force structure realignment at Fort Polk ends.

A final count of the comments concerning Fort Polk won't be available until after Friday.

Reese also informed community members of recent work done by economist Loren Scott, who was hired by the Louisiana Economic Development to provide a more accurate view of Fort Polk's impact on the state's economy.

According to Reese, Scott discovered that a loss of 5,300 troops at Fort Polk would result in:

• an annual loss to the State treasury of $24,332,000.00

• an annual loss in local government revenue of $7,110,200.00

• an annual loss of sales totaling $401,200,000.00

• an annual loss of income totaling $347,600,000.00

• a loss of jobs totaling 8,661

• a loss in population totaling 20,786

Reese also encouraged community members to become members of Fort Polk Progress, either in name or by making a financial contribution. He said that a strong membership adds weight to the group's influence.

The group will need more funds in the future even if the Army decides to grow Fort Polk now, because the community could face at least two Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) rounds beginning as early as 2014.

Fort Polk Progress is positioned to continue the fight to not only keep Fort Polk open, but to market Fort Polk as the Department of the Army's best investment for troop training.

For more information about joining Fort Polk Progress, contact any one on the Fort Polk Progress Board of Directors:

Michael Reese, Chairman Fort Polk Progress
Avon Knowlton, Secretary/Treasurer Fort Polk Progress, and Southwest Alliance
Ron Roberts, Mayor City of DeRidder
Robert Rose, Mayor City of Leesville
Clarence Beebe, Mayor Town of Hornbeck
Deborah Randolph, Executive Director of th
Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce
Jim Tuck, President Vernon Parish Police Jury
Leroy Cooley

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