RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO Page: 25 of 81
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"All we can do is go forward," Dody said, "and hope for the best."
Businesses Gamble On Benning Growth
Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News - Columbus Ledger-Enquirer - Georgia
May 22, 2005
It's not that Kenny Hopkins needed reassurance that his decision to invest in south Columbus was
the right one.
He'd done his homework.
He knew Fort Benning was on the verge of becoming a boom town.
And, as owner of American Eye Care, he knew that because of the Army's shortage of physicians,
many military dependents are taking their Tricare insurance with them to civilian doctors.
But his gamble was justified May 13 when he learned that the Base Realignment and Closure
report from the Pentagon had recommended that the Army's Armor Center and its 10,000 soldiers
and civilians be moved from Fort Knox, Ky., to Fort Benning.
"My $ 100,000 investment looks a little better right now," said Hopkins, who opened his second
store Monday across Victory Drive from Ranger Joe's. His first is located in Main Street Village.
Hopkins knows the numbers game.
About 2,200 of the soldiers and civilians heading here over the next two years will be
permanently stationed at Fort Benning, unlike soldiers in a combat brigade who are scheduled for
deployment every three or four years. Most are at the higher ends of the military and civil service
pay scales. And, using Army estimates, 65 percent of these newcomers will be married, with that
group having an estimated 1.8 children each.
Do the math.
The original 2,200 becomes 6,200, and that's not even counting the 7,500 soldiers who will pass
through the Armor School every year, attending schools ranging from two to nine months. Nor
the estimated 2,500 troops who were scheduled to come here anyway with other units before the
Then there's the money. The Pentagon is sending along $ 460 million to construct the new home
of the Armor.
No doubt Hopkins is excited. "Where better to be than near the front gate of the post?" he said.
There is a caveat. The Pentagon's recommendations are now being considered by a nine-member
BRAC commission, which in turn will forward its recommendations to President Bush by early
September. The president has until Sept. 23 to accept or reject the commission's report in its
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO, legal document, November 4, 2005; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc24404/m1/25/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.