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Officials ponder post, area growth
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The prospect of help -- and money -- from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment brought Liberty officials and others to a Hinesville meeting Friday.
The possibility of assistance from the OEA was mentioned at the Liberty countywide planning workshop last month and officials were quick to pursue the idea.
The OEA funded the Fort Stewart Joint Land Use Study, which examined what effects things like smoke, noise and traffic on post might have on development in the six counties bordering the military reservation. JLUS also considered whether training on the post might be affected by developments outside the fence.
The current interest is in possible OEA help in coping with the additional brigade being assigned to Fort Stewart and the support units, family members and other growth issue, which will accompany it.
Michael Wilson of OEA told area leaders they needed to form a growth management organization to apply for OEA assistance.
"You want to make sure you include every group which is impacted," he said.
OEA will decide whether the organization needs only technical assistance, or if there is also a need for project funding.
OEA has no money for bricks-and-mortar projects like building a school, he said, "But we can help you advocate for funding, from the state, for example."  
Wilson said a frequent request was for assistance with schools.
"We keep talking about schools. Schools are a major emphasis for everyone."
Besides Liberty Commission Chairman John McIver, the meeting also drew the mayors of most of Liberty's municipalities, the mayor of Pembroke, the Bryan County administrator, the city manager of Richmond Hill and the mayor of Glennville.
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