New Fort Benning hotel raises concerns with city leaders - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

New Fort Benning hotel raises concerns with city leaders

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

This used to be a barracks for soldiers in training at Fort Benning. Last year, the process started to turn the outdated building into new housing for those soldiers and their families.

"It's called the Abram's Inn or Abram's Hall currently," said Pete Bowden, President of the Columbus Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The renovation will create a space with more than 800 rooms for service members and their families. Last year, a decision was made to privatize the new hotel.

"Privatization means, based on what we know today, is that the civilian, non-military personnel can use that hotel for over night stay," Bowden explained.

It would offer a hotel room to the public at a discounted rate of about $13 cheaper than the rate of a hotel that isn't on the installation, but will it hurt private hotel business in Columbus?

"It's sort of a push down of an idea by the Department of Defense has to save federal dollars by privatizing facilities on the bases," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. "But it will have a market impact. We just don't know how big."

That's why the Columbus Convention and Visitor's Bureau presented what they had on the building and is trying to gain support from the city's elected officials to take action at the federal level.

"Our congressmen have been responsive to it and the idea is to do a fly in to Washington, D.C." added Bowden. "To actually have some meetings with these folks to have some one-on-one with them."

Mayor Tomlinson tells us the city is not against the hotel, but that they want the hotel to be used for its original purpose of housing only service members and their families.

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