Viewpoint: Fort Benning's massive expansion

Columbus, Ga. and Ft. Benning is being transformed in front of our own eyes. If you've driven down I-185 lately, you may have noticed a lot of construction around Fort Benning.

That's a major part of the $6 billion being put into, among other things the new main entrance to the Army post.

The impressive gateway boasts four large white pillars topped with four striking statues -- two of eagles and two of soldiers. The new gate pays tribute to all the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.

When the project is complete by the end of the year, including flag poles on each side with fountains shooting water 20 feet into the air, nearly 30,000 people will have arrived in Columbus almost overnight. The impact to the city is already providing a significant shot in the arm to the local economy.

The overall economic impact is forecast to go from $4.3 billion to about $6 billion. The post's working population will blossom to about 57,000 people providing in incredible infusion of economic stimulus from those additional paychecks.

So, the next time you pass by or through the new gate at Fort Benning think about the economic help it's providing the entire region.

But more importantly be reminded of the service and sacrifice so many have made and still are making to allow us to enjoy those freedoms. @@