A recent story says Fort Gordon is getting $61.5 million for the Gordon Regional Security Operations Center.
Our own U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood praises the state's congressional hails the funding, which will be useful in keeping the fort off the base-closing list.
"By keeping Fort Gordon's infrastructure current, we have the ability to attract new missions ... that spell the difference between success and failure in keeping installations alive and vital," Norwood says.
But: A few weeks ago, a friend brought over a document from Armed Forces News, a independent, online weekly newsletter. Attributed to "a knowledgeable official who spoke to Armed Forces News on grounds of anonymity," it claims to list the bases that would be closed under the Base Realignment and Closure process.
Fort McPherson in Georgia is on the list, as is the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, and the Navy School in Athens. Fort Gordon is not on the list.
Is the list reliable?
John Stone, Norwood's spokesman, says "I don't know how much weight this has. The list is constantly changing. ... (It) seems this is a list of every questionable base, which we already know about. The question remains which ones will be on the final list.
"I think what one can take away from this with some confidence is that bases not listed are safe, and those on it are still up for grabs," Stone says.
"Safe," then, would seem to describe Fort Gordon -- especially when it's attracting millions in new spending. If true, it's great news. Cross your fingers.
Survey isn't junk
Gotten any junk mail with your water bill lately?
The county has increasingly been using the bill as a vehicle for direct-mail public-relations pieces.
For example, the recent bill includes County Commission Chairman Ron Cross' "Goals for 2005," an update on current transportation projects and information on the county's Community Events Committee (I'm a member).
The bill also includes a Community Events Survey that could have significant impact. It asks respondents about the events they'd like to see in Columbia County, and when they'd like to see them.
The Community Events Committee plans to use the results to help guide it in fostering more cultural activities for Columbia County. The more input, the better.
If you didn't get a survey, they're available at the county office. If you did get one, please fill it out and send it in with your water bill, or drop it off at the county office.
But don't throw it away; it isn't junk mail.
Don't ruin field
Many events in Columbia County use the Doctors Hospital field. County commissioners recently agreed to buy the 19 or so acres in Evans for about $4 million.
It's a lot of money, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a wide open space right in the middle of one of the county's fastest-growing areas. So far, so good.
But please, commissioners: Abandon this terrible idea of adorning the property with features -- especially the awful notion of planting a tree-lined "mall" down the middle of the field.
People love the Doctors Hospital field because it's big and open, perfect for everything from civic events to soccer games to kite-flying. Commissioners should simply get the land nice and level, replant the grass, put a few park benches around the edges, pour a concrete-pad stage at one corner and then just back off.
It would be a shame to spend all that money on a wide-open field, and then ruin it with ornaments. Please: Buy it, save it, and leave it alone.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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