Albany- How important is the Marine Corps Logistics Base? It's one of southwest Georgia's largest employers, and it generates hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
With the next round of base closures coming up, area leaders are trying to secure money to help save the base.
Albany's Marine Corps Logistic Base has been on a Base Realignment and Closure List before, and it could happen again. "It's an important effort, probably the most important effort facing our community in many, many years," said Albany Mayor Tommy Coleman.
The economic impact of the base is close to a half billion dollars a year. But, let's break that down to see how much money goes to your hometown. In Dougherty County, the direct payroll impact of the base is almost $114 million. It's $24 million in Lee County. Worth County's Marine Base workers make almost $16 million. The Colquitt County figure is almost $12 million.
Now, leaders throughout our region are trying to raise money to help block the base from the closure list. "We're asking communities all across southwest Georgia who are impacted by the payroll from this base which is $218 million dollars," said Coleman.
Albany's Water, Gas and Light commission approved a $50,000 contract to help out. "I can't imagine anything more important to our community to preserve the jobs we have and the relationship we have with the Marine base," said Coleman.
Dougherty County is being asked to raise $500,000 through the Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress. An extra $100,000 is expected to come from surrounding counties. The money raised will help pay for research needed by the Department of Defense to prove the Marine base should keep its gates open.
Money raised will also go toward sending people to Washington, D.C. to represent Albany's base. The next base closure list will come out in 2005.
The base is the third largest non-manufacturing employer in Dougherty County. More than 3300 people work on base. Most of them, more than 2500, are civilians. Many of them repair military equipment. 700 active marines are stationed at MCLB. Also, nearly 200 contractors work on base. The base was commissioned on March 1, 1952.