"Optimistic" is how a Fort Gordon official describes his view of the Army base's possible closure.
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Officer James L. Hudgins told members of the Columbia County West Rotary Club at a lunch meeting in Harlem on Tuesday that though he can't make an official comment on Fort Gordon falling victim to the Base Realignment and Closure list, he touted the base's value to the Army.
"When people think of Fort Gordon they think about the Signal Corps, but there is so much more going on out there," he said. "Fort Gordon has transitioned into a lot more than a signal center."
Hudgins cited many reasons why he thinks the base will be around long after 2005, when the closure list is released. He pointed out the large military-intelligence presence, that the fort is the home of the National Science Center, and that the Army's only dental lab is housed at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, among other Fort Gordon achievements.
"We've also got a tremendous joint service presence," Hudgins said. "That will work in our favor."
More than 20,000 troops from all branches of the military attend the fort's Signal Center annually, Hudgins said. It is the largest communications training school in the military.
Fort Gordon contributes $1.2 billion a year to the local economy and is the CSRA's largest employer, said Hudgins, who added if it could be considered a town, the fort would be the ninth largest city in Georgia. Fort Gordon has 49 training areas and has 1,000 acres of land that Hudgins described as development-ready.
Officials at the fort continue planning for the future, which Hudgins said also is a good sign.
Upcoming projects at the base include a possible joint emergency-response training mission with the Medical College of Georgia, privatized base housing, adding nine holes to the fort's golf course and more.
"We want to be even better neighbors," Hudgins said.
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