Rallying support for UNY troops, region
Home of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum in Jefferson County is also the largest single-site employer in New York state, with a $1.8 billion impact on the surrounding region in 2014. Now, as the Army considers reducing personnel at 30 installations across the country, Fort Drum urgently needs to raise public awareness and support as it faces a potential loss of 16,000 military and civilian personnel – 84 percent of those currently assigned at the post. The proposed cuts are estimated to result in the loss of an additional 4,700 off-post civilian jobs in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
National Grid has joined in the effort to support Fort Drum, awarding a $48,000 economic development investment to the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization (FDRLO) through the company’s Strategic Marketing Program. The grant helped fund a multimedia campaign to raise public awareness and generate high turnout at a public rally and listening session held in Watertown on March 20.
“Fort Drum is a huge economic engine for the region and for the whole of New York state,” said Melanie Littlejohn, regional executive of National Grid Central New York Division. “Troop reductions would start a devastating spiral of disinvestment from which the community would struggle to recover. National Grid’s Strategic Marketing Program is designed to help the region attract and retain jobs, and we are pleased to be a partner in the effort to save Fort Drum.”