By Sgt. Beth Lake, USARCENT PAOMarch 27, 2009
FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- When Soldiers change duty stations, the Army ensures they know where they are going, where they will live and the services that will be available to them and their Families. Being informed helps quell any fears and anxieties.
The U.S. Army Central staff took a proactive approach to the Base Realignment and Closure of Fort McPherson and the unit's transition to Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina by hosting a town hall meeting at the Fort McPherson Post Theater March 18.
Participants in the town hall meeting were given briefs by representatives from the city of Sumter's chamber of commerce and Shaw Air Force Base's health clinic.
In anticipation of USARCENT's arrival, many changes are being implemented, speakers said. Shaw Air Force Base personnel are building a 100,000-square-foot Base
Exchange that will open in 2011, said Tom Flaherty, deputy for support and installation for 20th Mission Support Group. A 9,000-square-foot child development center is also being renovated and a new fitness center that will hold a basketball court and weight center will be constructed.
Debra Greene, marketing specialist for tourism for the city of Sumter, highlighted guided tours that are available for newcomers. The tours are sponsored by the City of Sumter and offer a detailed view of the city and its culture. Those interested in a tour can visit www.sumtersc.gov.
Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, USARCENT commanding general, encouraged personnel to continue bringing questions and concerns forth during this process. Many issues brought up in this town meeting, such as housing concerns, are being brought back to the BRAC committee for review.
As the town hall meeting ended, Lovelace encouraged a spirit of openness.
"We are all in this together," Lovelace said. "I appreciate everyone's support and everyone's patience. As you get questions, send them in."
This is one of several town hall meetings that will be held to inform USARCENT about its move to Shaw Air Force Base.