HAVELOCK, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley announced Thursday that
Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow
will receive $150,000 in state-matching funds to help the community protect the
Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point
from any potential base closing.
"North Carolina is the most military friendly state in the nation, and we want to keep it that way," Easley said. "Cherry Point is vital to our nation's defenses, and it provides a critical infusion into our local and state economies. With 5,700 civilian employees, it is the largest industrial employer east of I-95."
Last year, the General Assembly authorized the use of up to $2 million to prepare for a round of base closings and realignments that the U.S. Department of Defense is to announce in early 2005.
ACT will use the $150,000 state match to protect the Cherry Point air station and help secure new missions and military investments for the base.
The base has about 7,500 Marines and sailors and generates more than $1.5 billion annually in economic impact through payroll, operations, retirees and outside contracts.
ACT becomes the second recipient of state-matching funds for
Base Realignment and Closure
efforts. On May 13, Easley announced $150,000 in state-matching funds for the Onslow County Committee of 100 in its efforts to protect
Marine Corps Air Station at New River.
"We are positioned well for the upcoming federal BRAC process," Easley said. "But we must be aggressive and make the needed investments to protect our bases and expand their operations. Local and state efforts need to be coordinated to ensure the state's success."
Easley's proposed 2004-05 budget includes $1.5 million to help state and local efforts and $500,000 more for Reach Out To Communities to provide loan assistance and to prevent home foreclosures of military families.
His budget also includes $1.6 million in increased resources for the
Small Business Technology Development Center,
which could benefit businesses that serve the military and its employees.
According to a recent study, the military sector contributes about $18 billion to North Carolina's economy each year.
North Carolina has six major military installations: Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station,
Pope Air Force Base.
The state also has the Coast Guard Station in Elizabeth City, which is now under the
Department of Homeland Security.