BRAC impacting Bragg community

FORT BRAGG Construction of the new FORSCOM and reserve command headquarters is moving right along.

However, it now seems not as many civilian employees at Fort McPherson, Georgia want to make the move to North Carolina.

Last year, 90 percent of the 1,300 civilian employees at Fort McPherson said they would follow their jobs to Fort Bragg. That number is now down to 77 percent and is expected to go lower.

"Historically across the Department of Defense, when a base realignment and closure movement or relocation is done, the historic transformation is in the 30 and 40 percent range," FORSCOM Spokeman Jim Hinnant said. "So we think we're going to settle out somewhere around 50 percent of our workforce actually making the move here to the Fort Bragg area."

Last week, a bus load of people came from Atlanta to Fort Bragg to help give them a sense on whether they wanted to make the move.

John Bellamy with the BRAC Regional Task Force briefed Atlanta based employees thinking about making the move. He says surprisingly one of their biggest concerns isn't about schools or communities, it's about transportation -- specifically airport transportation.

"What is the transportation from Fayetteville Airport like throughout the rest of the country? Do we have direct flights to some of the major cities in the country?" Bellamy said.

For the past several years, local communities have been making improvements to roads, building schools and housing in anticipation of BRAC. Now that fewer people from Atlanta are opting to relocate, BRAC leaders say those improvements are still needed and they didn't over plan.

"Absolutely not, had we not done anything, we would have been in a world of trouble," Bellamy said.

"If an individual from Forces Command in Atlanta decides not to move, we'll either fill that position from a great person here in the Fort Bragg-Fayetteville area or we cast our net world-wide essentially," Hinnant said.

BRAC leadership say in addition to the Atlanta-based civilian employees moving to the area several large military contractors have express an interest in setting up shop near Fort Bragg.

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