Cuts proposed in Army study could hit the Kansas City area hard

08/13/2014 10:58 AM

08/13/2014 10:58 AM

The Kansas City area economy would take a big hit if the Army follows through with personnel and budget cuts at Fort Leavenworth.

It happened before when Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in south Kansas City began in the late 1970s to wind down its operation, finally closing in the 1990s. Housing and businesses throughout south Kansas City and Grandview were affected.

Now an Army study lists a potential workforce reduction at Fort Leavenworth from about 5,000 to 2,500 soldiers and civilian employees. The fort is northwest of downtown Kansas City.

It would be among 30 installations targeted to drop from 490,000 people to as low as 420,000 because of sequestration and budget cuts mandated by Washington, D.C., The Kansas City Star reports. Fort Riley near Manhattan, Kan., could lose 16,000 of its workforce of 19,995.

Fort Leonard Wood near Rolla, Mo., could lose 59 percent of its 9,161 workforce. The Army through Aug. 25 is taking public comments about the possible cuts.

Decisions on the reductions will be made in June 2015. A congressional review will follow, and then the cuts will be put in place in October 2015.

The Mid-America Regional Council was told in a briefing last week that the direct salary loss of the Fort Leavenworth cuts could be about $200 million. An additional 5,000 regional jobs could be affected by lost business and more than 3,800 family members would be affected with a potential population loss of 6,355.

And if that’s not bad enough, traffic at Kansas City International Airport would suffer because Fort Leavenworth is thought to be one of the largest generators of airline tickets with 35,000 to 40,000 hotel room nights a year.

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