COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Officials on Fort Benning are interested in buying a lot of land in order to expand the military post. Monday night was the first of several public meetings held in order to educate the community about the expansion.
Homeowner Charlie Waful attended one of five meetings to find out how his property would be affected by the expansion of over 82,000 acres of land. Military officials want to purchase land in Chattahoochee, Russell, Stewart, Marion and Webster Counties. Colonel Tom MacDonald says this additional land is needed for training.
"In Chattahoochee County they're concerned about do they get cut off from the river? Do we cut them off from schools and those kind of things. The bottom line is that we have to provide a right of way," says MacDonald.
Right of way meaning, Ft. Benning will work around people that do not want to sell their land. But residents are not only concerned about selling land only, noise seems to be a big factor.
"We're really concerned about the noise that the tanks and artillery shooting might bring to Omaha. Is it still going to be livable that close to the base," says Waful.
MacDonald says the expansion is for military maneuver training, and it will be used for formation and those kinds of things. The land will not be used for live fire ranges that Ft. Benning has now.
"We're looking for willing land owners, we're looking for large timber and we're not trying to take land from anyone. We're looking for this to be a friendly thing and be good members of the community, be good neighbors," says MacDonald.