BRAC list could come out next week - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

BRAC list could come out next week

Albany-- Friday 13th could be Dougherty County's luckiest or unluckiest day in years. Officials working to save the Albany Marine Base say we could find then if the base closure list.

The Secretary of Defense was expected to hand over his list of recommended base closures to the BRAC commission on May 16th. But now that list is expected to be announced next Friday, and maybe even be leaked as early as Thursday.

The alliance working to save MCLB is prepared for whatever happens, good or bad. Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress isn't leaving the fate of the Albany Marine Base to superstition this Friday the 13th. "The main thing we're doing is monitoring any information that comes out of Washington to see if there are any indications what may happen," said County Commissioner Chairman, Jeff Sinyard.

The Alliance has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to save the base, hiring high profile lobbyists to fight for the base in Washington, D. C. and making sure lawmakers know how vital the base is the southwest Georgia.

With less the two weeks before the initial base closure list is released, the alliance is left waiting and hoping that work will be enough to save MCLB. "I don't believe we're going to be on the list. I think we're too good. We do too much for national security issue we're dealing with every day," Sinyard said.

If the base is closed, nearly every business and family in southwest Georgia would be effected somehow. The real estate market at the top of the impact list. "Obviously we have a lot of homes on the market which isn't good for real estate prices," said realtor Patsy Martin.

Martin says many civilian employees would be forced to move to other bases or find jobs in other industries. "We know what devastation we felt with the Firestone closure, well multiple that by about four. This would be about four times the impact of a Firestone."

A brutal punch to the community. But Martin says on the up-side, another industry might take over the base site and bring with it new employees and potential home buyers. That could also happen if the President ups production at MCLB and more workers are needed.

Martin says realtors are ready to help. "We'll be there either in thousands to greet the BRAC Commission when they fly into Albany or be able to welcome new residents to the area, we'll be there."

Next week list isn't final. But only about 20% of the bases on the list will be able to get off it come September 8th, when the BRAC commissioner gives the list to the President.

If MCLB in on the list next week, BRAC officials will visit the base so time this summer. The Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress is already planning a massive program to welcome them and hopefully persuade them to remove MCLB from the list.

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