Despite the loss of Fort Benning’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, there is still reason to be optimistic about the prospects for economic growth in the Chattahoochee Valley, according to the consultant studying the impact of the cutbacks.
Matrix Design Group presented the results on Friday of its assessment of the economic impact of the cuts on the seven counties surrounding the post in west central Georgia. While the loss of the brigade combat team would affect the local housing market, schools, retail spending and personal wages, the region’s economy can overcome the setback and possibly offset it through other missions at Fort Benning, said Sal Nodjomian, the study’s project manager and executive vice president for Matrix.
“The economy here is very stable. The installation is not going anywhere. It’s still a huge driver, it’s 20 to 25 percent of the overall economy, and that is not going to change. There is still growth opportunity at the base, so there could be potential growth that comes in later,” Nodjomian said.
The post is losing 2,800 soldiers plus dependents by the end of the summer as part of the Army’s latest restructuring, which will shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 by the end of fiscal 2018. Analysts estimate the region will lose from 5,000 to 6,000 total residents, reported WTVM.