Originally created 01/16/04

Alliance for post receives $50,000



Fund-raisers working to save Fort Gordon received $50,000 from city economic developers Thursday.

The Richmond County Development Authority presented a check to the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon at the authority's monthly meeting.

"The funds will be used wisely and efficiently," said Duncan Johnson, the CSRA Alliance's vice chairman for fund-raising. "We're going to save and grow Fort Gordon."

Mr. Johnson said the funds will likely be used for studies of the area to determine the feasibility of expanding Fort Gordon's missions, including an analysis of how Augusta's housing market, schools and other infrastructure could absorb an additional 5,000 to 6,000 residents.

The alliance approached the development authority in October, seeking a contribution of $100,000, but Mr. Johnson said he was not disappointed.

"We don't want anyone to think that what they give us isn't appreciated," he said, adding that he expected the development authority will probably contribute $50,000 more at a later date.

Outgoing authority Chairman Charles Walker, whose term ended Thursday, said this was just the authority's first contribution. As the authority's finances improve and the alliance's needs grow, the authority will contribute more, Mr. Walker said.

The alliance has about $700,000 in its account and pledges for $450,000 more, Mr. Johnson said. The group is working to keep Fort Gordon off the list of the proposed base closings coming in May 2005 as part of the Defense Department's Base Realignment and Closure plan.

The plan, known commonly as BRAC, began in 1988 as the Department of Defense began downsizing the military. The May 2005 closures represent the fifth round of base closings.

So far, none of Georgia's 13 bases has closed.

Reach James Gallagher at (706) 823-3227 or james.gallagher@augustachronicle.com.