Over the past few years, most of us have heard the news about the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and how it will impact Fort Bragg and our region. The enormity of this structure shift is spurring extraordinary opportunities throughout the communities surrounding Fort Bragg- the largest military base in the world with over 51,000 soldiers and employees. As a result of the BRAC realignment, more than 25,000 military personnel, civilian workers and family members will be moving to the Fort Bragg area. It is estimated that the entire base realignment, along with new businesses and vendors serving the military, will exceed 45,000 additional people.
The BRAC Regional Task Force was created to address the impact of both short-term and long-term growth. One of the many responsibilities of the Task Force is to assist the 73 municipalities affected with all aspects of community planning. In total, there are 11 counties that have combined to create a unique partnership and region known as “The All American Defense Corridor”. The Task Force has already conducted a great deal of research on the area. However, what caught my attention was all the positive news specifically focused on Lee County.
By 2013, the Task Force estimates the military and civilian population will increase by 10,675. The estimated economic impact to Lee County will be roughly 1,000 jobs created by 2011; income figures increasing over 3.3% by 2013; Gross Regional Product (GRP) increases $143 million; local demand increases $217 million; and sales to local businesses (output) rises $110 million. Lee County roadway plans and improvements are underway in order to support this growth, including the completion of the Sanford Bypass, the I-295 extension, and recommendations for the Fort Bragg Thoroughfare Plan. The Task Force also determined that Lee County was the most adequately prepared of all 11 counties to meet the demands of future population growth from a health care and hospitality standpoint.
In summary, we’re about to see a major change in our region, especially in the Sanford/Lee County area. You might also notice more NAI Carolantic signs there as well! I have spent a great deal of time in the area recently and am beginning to see first-hand what is going on. It’s difficult to even touch on the extent of the BRAC impact in this blog article, so visit the website to learn more. (http://www.bracrtf.com).