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The City of Savannah (population 134, 000) is located in Chatham County (population 195, 000) on the Savannah River, the dividing line between Georgia and South Carolina. It is 18 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and approximately 83 miles southwest of Charleston, South Carolina and 123 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida. Hunter Army Airfield, which occupies 5,403 acres, is located in the growing southwestern section of Savannah, six miles from the heart of the city.
Hunter Army Airfield is being placed in caretaker status. Savannah/ Chatham County have been experiencing a sustained adverse impact as employment at the base has declined from a peak of more than 7,000 in 1969 to a caretaker force of 47 by September of this year. The April 17 announcement signaled a final phasing out of 1, 126 military and 450 civilian personnel. After transfers, retirements and normal attrition, it is calculated that about 85-100 civilians will be without jobs.
On May 10 and 11, 1973, EAC representatives made an initial visit to
A reconnaissance visit was conducted by OEA staff members on June 1921 to review community progress, further assess the impact, and assist in developing a recovery strategy.
Much of the EAC program will be contingent upon the eventual re-use plan for the base which is agreed upon by the Army and the community. Involvement of the EAC has thus far produced the following:
employees who are to lose jobs. All but 20 have received
Submission to HUD of a $45,000 application for 701 planning funds to finance the preparation of an economic development plan,
o OEA guidance to Hunter Field Planning Committee in prepara
tion of development described above.
Further actions are likely to include assistance in: development of an industrial diversification plan; preparation of an industrial district plan; execution of a water and sewer study; capital development projects; tourism studies; historic development planning; transportation planning; vocational technical education, and the training of workers for projected manpower needs.
Dispostion of DoD Property
Of the 5,403 acres owned by the Army, 5.366.5 acres are to be held in caretaker status. The remaining 36.5 acres have been excessed.
Savannah and Chatham County have shown an ability to recover from previous cutbacks of personnel at Hunter Army Airfield. Civilian personnel are being easily absorbed in the local economy, and the unemployment rate should not be raised at all. (It is currently about 3.08%).
The greatest need is for development of new industry in the area to increase number of jobs and lessen dependence on the military's economic contribution. Efforts to attract new industry are constrained in part by a need for improvement of the water and sewage treatment facilities, by a tight labor market and by relatively low wage and salary scales. Savannah and Chatham County are fortunate in having dynamic young leaders who cooperate well, so EAC assistance should produce highly favorable long-term community development results,
The community's plan for development is being prepared. Completion of a reconnaissance visit report is anticipated by August 1973. It will outline a strategy of needed recovery actions and provide background for a full EAC Federal team visit to Savannah in August or September. Meanwhile, recovery actions continue to move forward.
Forbes Air Force Base is located six miles south of Topeka and 65 miles east of Kansas City in Shawnee County, Kansas. The base and surrounding area were recently annexed by the city after the base closure announcement.
The current realignments at Forbes AFB will relocate active Tactical Air Command units to Texas and Arkansas; Military Airlift Command Aerial Cartographic and Geodetic Squadron to Mississippi; and the USAF Skill Center to New Mexico. The base will be closed by September 1973, except for Air and Army National Guard and Strategic Air Command satellite mission activities. These actions will result in a net reduction of 1,241 military positions and 83 civilian positions. Concurrently a major amount of real estate with related personal property and over 1,000 units of family housing will be declared
Although serious economic impacts are anticipated in the short-term, the Congressional, state and local officials have maintained a very positive, progressive attitude and with Federal support through the President's Economic Adjustment Committee now look upon this action as an opportunity - a chance to re-orient a major segment of their economy from defense dependent activities to a more stable private sector involvement.
Shortly after the April 17 announcement of the base realignment, Senator Robert Dole of Kansas made a formal request for EAC assistance on behalf of the state and local community. Congressman William Roy also shared in this bipartisan request. An initial visit to the community was made on April 26-27, 1973 with excellent results.
On June 19-20, a staff from DoD's Office of Economic Adjustment headed a reconnaissance team that visited Topeka and gathered facts on the base and local economy. Data collected in the June visit is presently being evaluated. The findings of this research will provide Federal and state officials and community leaders a background picture of local problems and potentials. This is the preparatory work leading up to the full team visit scheduled for 18 August 1973. At that time, Federal representations of appropriate departments and agencies, in association with state and bcal officials, will formulate development strategy and a work program with specific projects to support this strategy.
During the interim, technical assistance funds amounting to $55,000 were provided for an Industrial District Plan and to pay for consultant services on discreet tasks. A fulltime coordinator was provided through a HUD grant for $25,000. The Airport Master Planning contract is now under review by the Federal Aviation Administration, Cost of this planning study is estimated at $50,000. The results of both studies will describe the most viable alternatives available to the community in the re-use of Forbes AFB assets. Both studies are required to be coherent and compatible since one addresses only the airfield portion while the other involves the cantonment area and housing as its main focus.
A preliminary action list was developed and distributed by EAC to all action agencies on 11 May 1973. This action list was mainly oriented to the military phasedown requirements and complimentary Federal (including regional) actions in support of those requirements. Attention was also drawn to the minority groups, especially the Pottawotomie and Kickapoo Indian tribes in the surrounding community.
As a result of the 19-20 June EAC visit, the Federal, state, county and city representatives developed a short term strategy to be implemented while the planning was being completed for the long term.
For the short term, to expedite municipal takeover of the base and related facilities operations, action proposed but now yet approved are as follows:
99-970 O. 73 - 6