Source: The News-Enterprise
ISSUE: Value of Knox Regional Development Alliance
OUR VIEW: Organization will protect, promote post
Fort Knox employs thousands of people, attracts businesses to service its needs and generates millions of dollars in tax revenues for our region.
It is one of Kentucky’s major economic engines and must not be ignored. A new, proactive effort to provide support and promotion of Fort Knox’s attributes to enhance local opportunities is being developed.
Most successful undertakings have a marketing strategy so they can stay ahead of the competition and hopefully win more than they lose. The Knox Regional Development Alliance was created for this purpose.
The community rallied around the base earlier in the decade when the Base Realignment and Closure threat loomed and Fort Knox gained new missions and jobs. That same effort must be maintained 365 days a year if we want Fort Knox to sustain its current missions and potentially attract new ones.
Other states have well-funded voices fighting for opportunities and it is critical to our community that Fort Knox be represented at the table. With an estimated economic impact of $2.6 billion, the value of Fort Knox should not be taken for granted.
The volunteer efforts of the Core Committee, which has been at work locally for a quarter century, will be united with the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce’s existing One Knox Council to create KRDA.
Its top three priorities are to retain existing and attract new Department of Defense missions; attract new business from defense related industries; and develop more public-public and public-private partnerships.
The competition between military communities like ours for more Department of Defense dollars is fierce. In an era of federal budget deficits and shrinking defense spending, future base realignment and closures are inevitable.
The KRDA has collected commitments for nearly $1.6 million toward its $2.5 million goal — which would provide an annual operating budget of $500,000 for the next five years.
As outlined at the launch of the public portion of the alliance’s fundraising drive, the money will be used to attract a professional staff dedicated to the priorities listed above and promoting the many advantages of Fort Knox in the halls of the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol and to cover related expenses.
The community again has an opportunity to rally around Fort Knox by supporting the Knox Regional Development Alliance. It’s success ultimately will create more jobs, on and off post, and enhance the local economy.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.