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Growth partnership adopts plan, OKs grant
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The Fort Stewart Growth Management Partnership voted Tuesday to adopt a plan that will address multifaceted growth issues faced by the four-county coastal region in the next 20 years.
“It will be up to us to follow through on it and not put it up on the shelf,” partnership Director Jeff Ricketson said to fellow members, who represent municipalities within the four counties as well as Fort Stewart.
Comments on the plan before its adoption were limited, though Mike Riddle, chairman of the Long County/Ludowici Planning and Zoning Board, did note that some stakeholders in Long County disagree with assessments regarding the area’s current population numbers.
Ricketson said though Long County isn’t the only part of the region with different views on population data, the study relied on state figures for its modeling.
Partnership members also approved an OEA implementation grant that will help the partnership follow through on planned actions regarding regional growth. Ricketson said terms of funding still are being worked out but that the grant is estimated to provide $335,000 in funding.
Under the grant, the regional water utility master plan will be modified due to funding limitations, Ricketson said, but the partnership still plans to address the Fort Stewart access management plan, economic diversification studies and housing trends and growth management data tracking.
At the end of the meeting, OEA representative Amber Levofksy updated members on the status of requests for federal funding promised in the wake of the area’s loss of the planned fifth brigade.
The awards must be made by the end of September, and Levofksy said OEA will send letters soon inviting entities to officially apply for funding and to provide more information if necessary. She added that the invitations are not a guarantee of funding.

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