The Army is asking local people to identify environmental issues and review their proposed master plan for 18 projects that are on the table. Among the planned construction projects are numerous firing ranges, complexes and road widening.
Next year, the Army plans to create the final draft of an environmental impact statement, slated to include adjustments based on public input, which will set some additional guidelines for the construction phase. Additional public meetings will take place once the final draft is completed.
"It's a planning document," said Tom Fry, Fort Stewart's acting director of public works. "Creating it gives us confidence, knowing that we've all gathered as a team and made good, solid decisions about where we're going in the future. We're creating with our installation partners as well as our community."
Fry said the Army is encouraging both Richmond Hill and Pembroke residents to participate because "Bryan County is our neighbor. We affect each other, and we would be remiss not to invite you into the decision making process."
Fort Stewart and 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo recently told the Richmond Hill Rotary Club that the Army plans to spend $1.3 billion toward construction at Fort Stewart between now and 2013.
Cucolo said Fort Stewart is ranked second among Army posts for projected military construction in 2009. $400 million in construction is slated for next year, and "we're already cutting trees," he said.
Along with the building growth, an additional 10,000 soldiers and family members are expected to arrive over the next three years.
Though three public hearings were recently held, if you missed them you can still comment online at www.Fortstewart-mmp-eis.com. The proposed master plan can be found on that site as well.