Fort Lee reacts to shootings: Post to grow under BRAC expansion

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - It's business as usual at Fort Lee. But that isn't calming concerns of some in the community who wonder if an incident like the one at Fort Hood could happen here especially as Fort Lee prepares for an increase in population under the BRAC expansion.

The daily population here is similar to that of Fort Hood, about 30,000. Here at Fort Lee that number is expected to jump to more than 40 thousand by the end of next year.

The landscape at Fort Lee is taking on a new look. Construction is wall to wall. From a new sustainment center, to a 136 million dollar army logistics university; it's where all branches of the military will be trained on various specialties.

"The buildings that they're doing the housing; it's like a whole new city almost," said Karen Laboo, business owner.

Karen Laboo owns a hair salon less than a mile away from the post.

"We're excited about the changes in this area, the revenue that are going to come with the influx of people," she said.

Laboo says with the growth at Fort Lee comes lots of benefits but also many concerns - more so, in light of the mass shootings at Fort Hood.

"We're expecting all kinds of people from all different walks of life. I've been thinking about it. I know it was an isolated incident but you never know what will happen," Laboo said.

That opinion carried throughout this salon.

"So what precautions can you take to ensure that doesn't happen? And with us being so close to Fort Lee how will it affect us," said Joedrell Benjamin.

Some who live on this military post say the increase in personnel makes them feel safer. Chase Stephenson's dad is stationed at Fort Lee. He says it's possible but not probable that what happened at Fort Hood would happen here.

"It's kind of one of these rare cases that doesn't very often otherwise it wouldn't be as big of a deal as it is," Stephenson said.

The BRAC expansion will be complete by the end of next year. Fort Lee will be the 2nd largest training post in the United States once the BRAC expansion is finished.

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