Friday, March 2, 2012

Fort Gordon’s Impact on the CSRA


The CSRA Alliance serves as a liaison between the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) community and Fort Gordon.  Although the threat of Fort Gordon closing has passed for now, there is still much that can be done to enhance our reputation as a supportive military community.  Creating a positive environment for service members and their families not only contributes to Fort Gordon’s attractiveness for new missions, but encourages these highly skilled military members to remain once they separate from the service.

Facts and figures about Fort Gordon’s impact on the CSRA.  (1 March 2012)
Latest Facts and Figures from Thom Tuckey of the CSRA Alliance.

1.       Fort Gordon remains the CSRA’s largest employer with about 24,000 military, civilian and contractor employees, a growth of over 6,000 since 2002.  Using a conservative Dept of Commerce multiplier of 2:1 this equates to 48,000 community jobs as a result of Fort Gordon.  The estimated total economic impact is over $2.6B annually.
2.       About 800-1200 service members separate from the military at Fort Gordon each year.  These are primarily highly skilled information technology or medical professionals.  Surveys show about half plan to or would like to remain in Augusta area if there were jobs available. 
3.       There is over $530M worth of construction currently on-going or programmed/approved.
4.       Ft Gordon has contracts with 26 area hotels to provide lodging for students and others on official travel, with an average daily usage of over 150 rooms.
5.       The Fort Gordon Retirement Services area of responsibility includes 30 Georgia counties and 10 South Carolina counties, within which there are over 47,500 military retirees and family members.  
6.       Over $156M in health care was purchased from area medical facilities in FY2011.  This includes TRICARE in/outpatient care at area civilian facilities, specialty care/referrals for treatment not available at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, and contracted care at civilian facilities such as all obstetric care for military being provided by Trinity Hospital and the Medical College of Georgia.
7.       Area school districts receive over $1.2M annually in impact aid, which is funding provided by the Department of Education to compensate for federal employees who do not pay property or GA state taxes because they live in government housing or are out-of-state residents.
8.       As part of the on-going family housing privatization initiative, 94 local vendors have been subcontracted for goods and services totaling $31M from FY06-FY11.
9.       The GA Army National Guard’s #1 future construction priority is a $39M, 150,000 sqft Regional Readiness Center and supporting Field Maintenance Facility to be constructed on 30 acres of Ft Gordon.   Readiness Center will enable consolidation of area units into a single facility.  Design and environmental assessment projected over next 5 years with actual construction projected after 2016. 
10.   Fort Gordon is one of 2 military installations selected for the Municipal Services Pilot Program.  Through this program, the fort receives water and wastewater service from the city of Augusta.
11.   The US Army Signal Corps Band provides over 300 performances annually in parades, ceremonies, receptions, schools, nursing homes, museums, funerals, and other area activities.
12.   Fort Gordon service members, civilians and family members volunteer over 5000 manhours annually in area schools, nursing homes, food banks, and for other community activities and events.
13.   Fort Gordon facilities are used for community activities such as the Soap Box Derby, Special Olympics, Motorcycle Safety Course, and ROTC/JROTC training.  The 27-hole Gordon Lakes Golf Course, Ft Gordon Bowling Center, Riding Stables, Dinner Theater, Gordon Club, and the Sportsman’s Complex with skeet, trap, archery, and firearms ranges are all open to the public.
14.   Ft Gordon is home to the GA National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy which is a program for high school dropouts, offering a chance to complete their GED and gain experience as responsible adults.  Each session is 5 months long and graduates over 200 students.  

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The CSRA Alliance was created in March, 2003 by Congressman Charlie Norwood as a non-profit organization with the primary mission to create awareness in the community of the threat of base closure and the potential economic impact should Ft Gordon be downsized or closed.

In November 2005, the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission Report became law and Fort Gordon was officially spared any negative impact from this latest round of base realignment and closure.  The primary reason Fort Gordon survived was its military value - the ability to efficiently and effectively perform its assigned missions and its potential to support new missions.  Other major contributing factors, however, were the strong community support for our service members and their families and the outstanding quality of life enjoyed by CSRA residents. 

Fort Gordon continues to be one of the largest economic engines in the CSRA.  2011 saw the completion of the new $300M+ National Security Agency strategic intelligence facility, the addition of a 120,000 acre training area at Savannah River Site, privatization of guest lodging and numerous renovation projects for barracks, classrooms, family housing and installation infrastructure.  Major emphasis has been placed on care and treatment of wounded and injured service members as Eisenhower Army Medical Center remains a primary reception point.   New missions and expansion of existing missions increased the Fort’s work force to over 24,000 in 2011, with continued growth projected for 2012.   

The CSRA Alliance serves as a liaison between the CSRA community and Fort Gordon.  Although the threat of Fort Gordon closing has passed for now, there is still much that can be done to enhance our reputation as a supportive military community.  Creating a positive environment for service members and their families not only contributes to Fort Gordon’s attractiveness for new missions, but encourages these highly skilled military members to remain once they separate from the service.  The Alliance has been instrumental in enhancing this relationship and promoting economic development through initiatives affecting education, employment, encroachment prevention, business partnerships and mission growth.  The Alliance also serves as the community representative to the Governor’s Military Affairs Coordinating Committee and advocate for state level issues affecting Fort Gordon. 

For more information about the CSRA Alliance, contact Thom Tuckey, Executive Director, at 706-821-1312, or ttuckey@augustagausa.com.

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