|
|
|
|
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Organization promotes economic development for fort

  • The federal government doesn't market Fort Leavenworth.

    But that doesn't prevent a group of private citizens from marketing for the fort.

    And this is part of what The 27 Committee does, according to Dick Gibson, the organization's executive director.
    • email print
  • The federal government doesn't market Fort Leavenworth.
    But that doesn't prevent a group of private citizens from marketing for the fort.
    And this is part of what The 27 Committee does, according to Dick Gibson, the organization's executive director.
    According to its mission statement, The 27 Committee works to establish cooperation between government and private businesses in order to identify, develop and promote economic development in the greater Kansas City region. The 27 Committee, which was started last year, centers its efforts on Fort Leavenworth.
    In fact, the organization's name comes from the year Fort Leavenworth was established ― 1827.
    "We want to grow Fort Leavenworth," said Bill Geiger, a member of the organization's board of directors.
    He said things such as sequestration has people in the organization a little nervous in terms of how it will affect the military post. But he said The 27 Committee doesn't want to be in the position of being on defense.
    "We want to be on offense," he said.
    Gibson said members of The 27 Committee want Fort Leavenworth to retain the missions it already has and attract new ones.
    "We don't speak for the fort," he said. "We would never do that."
    But members of The 27 Committee keep Fort Leavenworth officials informed of what they're doing.
    "Right now, we're in the information mode," Gibson said.
    He said officials are gathering information and looking to see if there opportunities.
    He said part of The 27 Committee's overall mission is to inform people. About every six to eight weeks, the organization hosts business leaders from the region. The business leaders are briefed about the committee and the fort. They spend half a day on post and eat lunch with students from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
    The 27 Committee is a non-profit organization.
    "The government doesn't pay us," Gibson said.
    The 27 Committee's board of directors is made up of representatives from the Kansas and Missouri sides of the Kansas City area.
    "We were formed in June of 2012," Gibson said.
    The organization's formation followed Gov. Sam Brownback's Economic Summit on the Defense Industry, which was held in 2011 in Leavenworth. Gibson said the governor challenged communities around military installations to grow in areas such as defense contractors and ancillary pieces that support the posts.
    The 27 Committee also was formed after Congress passed legislation in 2011 that will cut $500 billion from federal defense spending over a 10-year period.
    Gibson said such cuts may present opportunities for Fort Leavenworth. As things are consolidated, programs could be moved to the fort.
    "You have to keep looking at opportunities," he said.
    According to Gibson, the fort's economic impact totaled $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2012.
    Page 2 of 2 -
      • calendar