The Liberty County Development Authority is voicing its unity with other leaders who want the Army to consider transferring the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team to Fort Stewart.
At its Monday meeting, the board approved resolutions to send to top officials — including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and policy makers Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. John McCain, House Speaker John Boehner and more — in support of the transfer.
The authority’s support comes about a month after The Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter sent a letter to Fort Benning officials proposing the transfer.
Current plans call for an 83,000-acre land acquisition from Stewart County to create space for the brigade at Fort Benning, but Fort Stewart has upwards of 200,000 acres available that could become home to the brigade, board members said.
“We’re trying to save the Army about $1 billion,” LCDA CEO Ron Tolley said.
The board also approved resolutions in support of the Savannah Harbor Expansion project, which would allow larger, deeper draft ships to use the Port of Savannah. The port is a shipping gateway to 44 percent of the U.S. population, LCDA Marketing Director Anna Chafin wrote in an email.
“Liberty County’s proximity to the Port of Savannah continues to be one of our most valuable assets for locating companies and creating new jobs in the community,” Chafin wrote. Seventy percent of industry employment in Liberty County has overseas headquarters, and many of the industries use the port to export to more than 70 countries worldwide.
The board will send this resolution to Army Corps of Engineers leaders, Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz, Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson as well as regional U.S. representatives.
The board also voted to assign members Paul Krebs, John McIver and Robert Stokes to act as a water and sewer task force for the authority’s holdings at Tradeport East, Tradeport West and Midway Industrial Park.
Members McIver, Stokes, Rep. Al Williams, Jim Thomas, Brian Smith and Chairman Allen Brown were present for the meeting. Krebs was not present.