By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
For the mountain community of Colorado Springs, Colo., change is certain.
In the next few years, the size of nearby Fort Carson will more than double. As overseas assignments in Germany, Europe and Asia shrink to create a more mobile military, more than 10,000 troops will be assigned to the army base. The bulk of that influx was mapped out during the 2005 Base Realignment Process.
The region is sprinting to prepare for the military swell. And most are more than happy to do so, according to Colorado Springs real estate agent John Arends.
“This is a shot in the arm for our economy,” Arends said.
Scores of housing subdivisions are being resurrected, he said. And 600 hundred housing units will be constructed at the base, according to the president of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs office, Brian Binn.
Officials project 70 percent of those who will relocate to Fort Carson with the military in the next four years will live off base, Binn said.
To pinpoint hurdles in handling the influx, an impact study was launched by local officials. Areas of potential stress included education and transportation, Binn said. The study also found a lack of accessible and affordable housing in Colorado Springs, Binn said.
“It will be a challenge to handle the traffic of the additional troops.
“There will be some bottlenecks to and from the post, especially to the north,” Arends said.
Depending on where military families settle, certain schools could be strained, too, according to Binn.
With areas of improvement identified, “there really isn’t too much anxiety,” Binn said.
“We look at it as a positive economic impact.”