View Full Version : Marines to add 11,500 troops in eastern N.C.

10-12-07, 02:44 PM
Friday, October 12, 2007 - 3:08 PM EDT
Marines to add 11,500 troops in eastern N.C.
Triangle Business Journal - by Chris Coletta

The Marine Corps will boost troop levels at three bases in eastern North Carolina over the next five years, bringing as many as 11,500 new Marines to the area.

Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station in Jacksonville, as well as Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in Havelock, will get the increases as the Marine Corps seeks to expand to 202,000 troops nationwide. As many as 40,000 new residents could come to the surrounding region.

The move will be an economic boon for the area, leaders said, even as it creates a whole new slate of concerns about how the area will be able to accommodate tens of thousands of new residents in a five-year span. Camp Lejeune, New River and Cherry Point are home to just under 50,000 troops currently.

"This is going to impact the entire area," said Mona Padrick, president of the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce. "... There's going to be a tremendous number of challenges - and opportunities - that come with this."

On the one hand, Padrick said, getting at least 11,500 new jobs will bring a tremendous amount of money into the region. On the other hand, those employees will need places to live, schools to send their children to, and an infrastructure to support their footprint.

As a result, a seven-county area affected by the plus-up of troops has formed a partnership to discuss ways to mitigate its impact, Padrick said. Officials already have looked into getting a grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment, a federal agency that aids communities affected by Department of Defense programs.

"It's a great and wonderful thing to have, but there are definitely challenges we are going to have to overcome," she said.