01/31/11 — Military task force director to speak

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Military task force director to speak

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 31, 2011 1:46 PM

A presentation on the Eastern Region's Military Growth Task Force is one of just two new business items on Wayne County commissioners' Tuesday morning agenda.

The other is manager's report by County Manager Lee Smith.

Commissioners will be briefed on the short agenda at 8 a.m. in their meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex. The meeting will start at 9 a.m.

The Eastern Region is one of the state's seven economic development organizations and is made up of 13 eastern counties, including Wayne.

The presentation will be made by Mark Sutherland, Military Growth Task Force executive director.

During the recent State of the Region Conference, Sutherland said the region must be aware of threats posed to military installations -- one of the major threats being the "march-to-the-sea" growth, he said.

That growth refers to the state's increasing population density in areas that traditionally have been rural -- areas that the military fares better in because of its demands on space, including air space, he said.

During the conference, Sutherland said available air space for the Cherry Point Marine Air Station has shrunk by 85 percent over the past 50 years.

Another challenge facing the region is that it must demonstrate it can sustain any growth in the military. That is important because 47 percent of military growth east of the Mississippi River has been in eastern North Carolina, he said.