Residents confront Columbus Mayor and Fort Benning representatives about training noise

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

MIDLAND, GA (WXTX) - Due to Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, 52% of new Army soldiers will be training at Fort Benning leaving many in the Midland area concerned they will be hearing more tank blasts and gun shots.

Many of those residents showed up at a forum in Midland to air their concerns to Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and a representative from Fort Benning.  Midland resident Glenda Battle, who lives off Chattsworth Road, said residents need some relief from the noise because of training and high traffic, construction, and road erosion on their rural road from Fort Benning.

"All times of night and 2 o'clock in the morning--I've been awaken from shelling going on, and our concern is if we can just get an idea of the schedule of the shelling."

Mayor Tomlinson said while it is too late to keep Fort Benning from growing, there are still ways to help the citizens in Midland.

"We can negotiate with Fort Benning to try and relieve some of the effect of that.  Hopefully scheduling so it doesn't occur at certain of the time or on certain days when people have to get up and go to work," said Tomlinson.

Deputy Garrison Commander George Steuber, who also attended "Let's Talk! with the Mayor" in Midland did offer some hope for residents saying Fort Benning is willing to work with the city as long as they can still effectively train soldiers.

"This is a partnership.  Fort Benning isn't some isolated place out there separate from Columbus or separate from Muscogee County.  We are Columbus and Muscogee County.  70% of our soldiers and family members live off the instillation.  They're your neighbors," said Steuber.

Mayor Tomlinson said the training schedules for Fort Benning is listed on the city's website as well as her Facebook page so residents can know when to expect the noise.  Also, during the meeting, there were other suggestions such as phone alerts about training exercise schedule for residents.

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