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Don't expand Townsend Bombing Range
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Editor, I am opposed to any expansion of the existing Townsend Bombing Range. Expansion of the Townsend Bombing Range will have a long-term, detrimental impact on the quality of life in Long County and a devastating financial impact on its citizens.
The tax digest of Long County has already lost thousands of acres to governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. The Fort Stewart installation occupies approximately 24,000 acres in Long County. In recent years, if you include the Griffin Ridge WMA, The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy have worked together to purchase over 17,000 acres. Even though these acres have and will come off of the tax digest, they do provide recreational opportunities for hunters and fishermen throughout the region.
If the bombing range is expanded these recreational opportunities will be severely restricted or lost all together. The Georgia Department of Transportation has purchased between 3,000-4,000 acres of the old Altamaha Hunting Club tract have it set aside for wetland mitigation.
If the Townsend Bombing Range is expanded north of Highway 57 as proposed, an additional 20,000-plus acres would be removed from the tax digest in Long County, bringing the total non-taxable acreage to approximately 65,000. Not to mention the loss of potential development and diminished quality of life for residents of the Tibet, Townsend, Cox and Jones communities. These citizens already endure almost daily disruption to their lives due to noise exposure.
Expanding the bombing range into Long County will severely limit economic development and almost certainly guarantee that one of Georgia’s fastest growing counties will be relegated to bedroom community status forever or until it is absorbed back into Liberty and McIntosh counties.
We all recognize and value the presence of our military and its impact on this region. Fort Stewart provides jobs for thousands of civilians and is an irreplaceable part of our community. Make no mistake, we all love our soldiers! The proposed expansion of the bombing range will have the complete opposite effect. Very few if any new jobs, loss of tax revenue, limited development and diminished quality of life for our residents.
I have no idea what plan ‘B’ is, but the residents of Long and McIntosh counties can’t afford plan ‘A’. Please  no expansion!

Mike McGowan
Long County
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