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Growth partnership reports full participation
Levern Clancy Jr. of Midway, Mike Riddle of Long County, Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards and Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas listen to a presentation. - photo by Photo by Joe Parker, Jr.
The Fort Stewart Growth Management Partnership on Tuesday reported 100 percent participation from the four counties and all the municipalities in the area.
With Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver as temporary presiding officer, the members set Sept. 30 as the date for their next meeting. By then the group plans to have adopted bylaws, approved procedures and elected officers, and will meet with representatives of the Pentagon's Office of Economic Adjustment.
The OEA offers grants of up to $1 million and technical assistance to local governments affected by military movement such as the fifth brigade coming to Fort Stewart.
Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards summarized the comments of several officials about the timing of the local officials’ bid for funds: "I'm hearing OEA is really in a hurry with this."
Reminding everyone present that time is of the essence, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said, "We need to grab ahold of this and run with it."
Thomas said Hinesville's hotels were full now with soldiers and contractors coming to train a brigade of the Texas National Guard next month and he said that situation would repeat itself in
90 days.
The Army's plan to add a fifth maneuver brigade at Fort Stewart by 2010 will bring about 4,000 more soldiers to the Liberty County area. Quartermaster and human resources units are already moving to Fort Stewart.
Soldiers, their families, contractors, civil service workers and other growth associated with the military boom prompted the OEA to offer assistance.
At the September meeting the partnership is expected to name members of task forces to work on different aspects of the expected growth.
Four task forces are proposed, land use and housing, workforce and job creation, transportation and public services.
Liberty, Long, Bryan and Tattnall counties form the partnership with the 12 municipalities in the counties. Also included are a member of the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee, former Hines-ville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe, and a yet-to-be-named representative of the Fort Stewart garrison.
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