$7 million Fort Benning gateway project officially complete - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

$7 million Fort Benning gateway project officially complete

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's been twenty years in the making and finally the gateway leading into Fort Benning is complete.

Businessman and Gateway Foundation Chair John Flournoy knows all too well how important this is. He's been working on the project since 1991.

"We kind of thought the entrance to Fort Benning at the interchange looked like you were going into Atlanta Federal Prison. You know it just didn't give you a very good feeling," Flournoy said.

That is exactly what Flournoy and the foundation did. With stimulus funds, private donations and money from the state, they were able to build a massive gateway monument to rival some of the best in the world.

"We wanted something that would have a very significant impact; almost an emotional impact on infantry soldiers and the families of those soldiers," Flournoy said.

"You have to commend their vision - their "Never-say-die" attitude to getting something like this done,"  Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said.

The gateway at the I-185 entrance to Fort Benning has four pillars with statues on top of each one. Two are bald eagles the other two are soldiers.

News Leader 9 was at the site a couple of months ago as the last statue was put into place. Thursday the fountains and flags are all flying high, welcoming soldiers, their families and civilians to the 2nd largest military installation in the country.

"It's something that is going to define this community. You are going to see post cards and pictures in books.  You are going to know, 'Hey that's Columbus, Georgia', because of the pictures of that gateway," Teresa Tomlinson said.

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