FORT RILEY, Kan. -- About 25 leaders from businesses and organizations around Manhattan, Kansas, toured Fort Riley Jan. 12, to learn more about the facilities and training that goes on at Fort Riley.

This annual tour is held for neighboring communities to gather a better understanding of Fort Riley's integrated training environment.

One of the stops during the tour was the Training Support Center where they met Timothy Livsey, Fort Riley deputy garrison commander. They received a briefing on topics like the complexities of the training environment and the capabilities offered at Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division, garrison organization, the economic impact of Fort Riley to the neighboring communities, garrison partners and community support, educational partnerships -- to name a few.

One of the most prominent advantages both Fort Riley and Manhattan gain from each other is the intellectual capital. Livsey said having a large university nearby is a very distinctive thing about Fort Riley.

"How do you put a price tag on the intellectual value that's going to bring in the school systems and the volunteer programs?" he said. "We are the only large installation in continental United States that has a (university) within 15 minutes from the gates … they invest in us as we invest in them … the intellect of this region is very high and believe me, people know that; they know it in the Army, they know it in the state. So (it's a) mecca for intellectual growth … and that's good for the businesses and economy."

Another topic touched upon was the periodic booms heard by not only the Fort Riley community, but the residents who live in the Manhattan area as well. Livsey said "the noise" might seem louder today than years ago, but it is less frequently heard thanks to training simulators.

"Years ago we didn't have these simulators, so the noise was fairly constant -- every night," he said. "Today, that's not true. There are simulations, so you don't hear the noise. And when we get to a certain level of training, then we have to go out and make noise."

Present at the tour was Bill Raymann, chief of training of the Directorate of Plans, Mobilization, Training and Security. He said showing regional leaders how the 1st Inf. Div. conducts field training exercises helps them understand what goes on at Fort Riley.

"We like to do this with the community members, a lot of which have never been (at) Fort Riley nor understand what we do up there," Raymann said. "We like to show the technology that we are using that helps us kind of mitigate the amount of live training that we have to do out there. If the Soldiers can do something over and over again, build repetitions in simulations, when they go to field -- which they have to do -- they go to the field with a higher level of readiness, they're able to train to standard."

According to Janet Nichols, military community liaison for Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, most of those who attended did not realize the extent of what goes on at Fort Riley and how all-encompassing the post is.

"I don't think they realize everything that goes on there," Nichols said. "(The purpose of the visit is to) expose the local community to Fort Riley and military, and what Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division mission is … I think while they know there's training, they don't realize there's indoors training."

Nichols said she thinks the partnership between the 1st Inf. Div, Fort Riley and Manhattan is a positive means for the community as a whole.

"The more you know, the more you take and the more knowledge you expose the community to, then the more understanding they have of where and why sometimes there are a lot of Soldiers and sometimes there are not," she said. "I think when the community is aware, it makes everybody get along better. The community understanding of the mission just helps everyone along."