Here's some good news that has so far mostly been ignored by major North Carolina media: parts of the state may be insulated from the national recession as it receives a huge economic stimulus. Not enough media attention has been paid to the huge influx of more than 40,000 soldiers, civilians, contractors and their dependents to central North Carolina by 2013 as Ft. Bragg receives commands resulting from Base Realignment and Closing decisions. As many as 20,000 could arrive by fall 2011.
The NC Military Foundation estimates the economic impact on the state will be upwards of one billion dollars, the Daily Tar Heel reported. There's a brief AP article on the N&O web site, and a brief announcement on the WTVD site about groundbreaking for a new building at Ft. Bragg. The Fayetteville Observer's Henry Cunningham has probably reported on the project more than others. He had a piece quoting Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander of Forces Command, which oversees the training, equipping and mobilization of 750,000 soldiers for combat operations worldwide, briefly discussing the challenges of the move. "“We must execute this move in stride. That is the fundamental challenge," Campbell said.
The Dunn Daily Record reported that Harnett County projects 8,600 new residents by 2013. The 11 counties surrounding Ft. Bragg will be significantly impacted by rapid growth, according to the BRAC regional task force web site. The biggest impact will be in Moore, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Sampson, Bladen, Robeson, Scotland, Polk, Richmond and Montgomery counties. There may be opportunities for area farmers to sell their fruits and vegetables.
Of course, rapid growth also has its downsides, including traffic tie-ups, major sprawl, housing shortages, lack of affordable housing, crowded schools. Environmental activists should be vigilant and "smart growth" proponents should jump into the fray NOW. One wonders also what the long-term political impact of an influx of military personnel to a state that was almost evenly divided in the 2008 presidential election will be.
An innovative ad agency called Republik, based in Durham, NC, handles the BRAC account. Republik recently launched a blog, "Change Or Die," to celebrate the people and organizations who are "making the world a better place to live." The blog has an interesting manifesto:
WHY CHANGE OR DIE™
Would you break a habit, alter a routine or adjust your behavior if your very survival depended upon it? Of course you would, right?
In fact, the odds are nine to one you won’t. It’s been scientifically proven that 9 out of 10 people faced with the choice of either changing or dying will choose to die*.
To the 10% who make the world a better place by changing the status quo, this blog is dedicated to you. To those in the other 90% who aspire to be positive agents of change, we hope you find your inspiration here.
Change or Die.
Click to check out the blog.