The U.S. Department of Defense announced Tuesday its decision to not add a fifth brigade to Fort Stewart’s 3rd Infantry Division.
Secretary of the Army Pete Geren told Congress, however, that troop strength will increase on Fort Stewart. But how large that increase will be has not been announced.
Bryan officials have previously spoken of the surge the brigade’s arrival would have given to the local housing market.
Richmond Hill Mayor Richard Davis said he is disappointed but not surprised.
"We’ve been following this closely and have known for some time now that it’s been questionable whether the brigade was coming," Davis said. "Unfortunately, I suspect that White House politics played a hand in it."
Davis said Richmond Hill won’t suffer as much as Hinesville and Liberty County, "who have been building hundreds of homes in anticipation of the increase. It is going to hurt Richmond Hill, but at least our developers didn’t go to the extremes like they did in Hinesville."
"The bottom line is it’s going to affect all of us," Pembroke city administrator Frank Etheridge said. "We’ve all invested some hope for the economic impact that it surely would’ve brought."
Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said he too is disappointed.
"I think all of Bryan and certainly Liberty County had hoped to see the arrival of the fifth brigade," Burnsed said. "One of the reasons is the certain boost it would give to the economy and the housing market at a time when it is really needed. We keep hearing that the federal government plans to move troops from other areas, such as Germany, to bulk up the amount of troops here and let’s hope that is true."