Local News

Ft. Bragg Region Happily Prepares to Be Invaded

Posted January 18, 2007

— A surge of new residents is heading to the Fort Bragg area—thousands of them.

The migration is the result of the latest round of changes brought about by the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure program, known as BRAC.

The Army is moving Forces Command and the Reserve Command from Fort McPherson near Atlanta to Fort Bragg. Thursday, community leaders in Fayetteville announced how they are going to brace for the thousands of soldiers and civilian contractors who will be heading their way by 2011.

Mayor Tony Chayonne is happy about having time to do it.

"It's not many communities that have the chance to see growth before it happens. Most of the time, we turn around and say 'what happened?'" Chayonne said.

An estimated 20,000 people are spread across 11 counties surrounding Fort Bragg. The focus is Fayetteville. That's why city, Cumberland County and Fort Bragg leaders are creating a project committee of volunteers to get ready.

"If we don't handle, as a region, this move properly, then maybe it'll go the other way in 10 years—and we don't want that to happen," said Jim Konneker, committee chairman. The committee’s members work in schools, housing, transportation.

Their goal is to showcase what Fayetteville has for big-city transplants.

Fayetteville has a Starbucks. It has, we do have nightlife. And we do have entertainment, such as this regional theater," Konneker said.

Part of the effort is to keep it real, not to exaggerate.

"We're not about to say that we have a cultural community that is competitive with Atlanta," said Deborah Mintz, director of the Cumberland County Arts Council and a committee member. Fayetteville has unique attractions, however.

"We have our own symphony orchestra. We have museums -- the Airborne and Special Ops Museum, which is stellar. You can't find anything like this anywhere," Mintz said.

The project committee will be in place for at least three years. It will meet regularly with the regional BRAC task force about planning strategies.

The committee will be funded through donations from citizens and businesses.
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  • Fence Straddler Jan 19, 2007

    Be mindful of the funding (DONATIONS from citizens and businesses). That statement could have ramifications.
    This is a three year hitch (could be more but at least three). Citizens beware because again this is all about BUSINESS. Be mindful of who stands to gain when donating. More people coming? How is customer service now? Are there good paying jobs? Are your current businesses paying good now? Are your current businesses providing you with top-notch customer service? These questions (and many others) will need answering and I don't think it will take three years to get them.
    Contact local district representatives prior to donating your hard earned money to a newly made committee designed to build business and infrastructure. Your representatives are the people you elected to be your voice and they don't require donations.