Fort Lee businesses concerned about possible base reductions - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Fort Lee businesses concerned about possible base reductions

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FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) -

Thousands of soldier and civilian jobs are on the line at Fort Lee as a new report just released suggests major cut backs for bases across the country.

No decision has been made yet, but business owners and leaders say the impact to the area could be devastating.

"This whole community saw Fort Lee expanding, expanding, expanding," said Marlon Dance of Dance's Sporting Goods. For Dance, that's been good for business. He says a lot of his customer base comes from Fort Lee.

"The snack shop, we have a lot of guys that come over to eat at the snack bar," he said. " Basically, lunch time from Fort Lee, a whole group of them have been coming over for years, and we know them by name.

He says Dance's would definitely be impacted by any cuts at the base. "Any time you take that many people away from a retail business, all of these businesses will be affected."

The U.S. Army released its report last Thursday, titled "Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment." The document is hundreds of pages long, and analyzes the impact of major cuts at 30 bases across the country, including Fort Lee. A spokesman for the base confirmed that Fort Lee could lose up to 3,600 employees, including 879 job cuts that have occurred since 2011.

Cuts at Fort Lee could be devastating to the entire region. The economic impact of the base is estimated at $2.4 billion annually. The Army will take the economic impact into consideration before making a final decision.

"Anyone can respond to this. Any private business can respond to how this may impact their business," Dennis Morris of the Crater Planning District said. "In fact, we encourage that kind of response."

Dance says he already knows what he wants to say: "Don't go."

Anyone who would like to weigh in on the potential job cuts can call the U.S. Army Environmental Command Public Affairs Office at (210) 466-1590 or toll-free 855-846-3940, or email usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.

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