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Fort Carson expansion affects Pueblo as well 

click to enlarge Expected demographics of the incoming troops.
  • Expected demographics of the incoming troops.

Over the next few years, approximately 25,000 more soldiers and their family members will relocate to southern Colorado, due to Department of Defense base-realignment decisions.

Fort Carson will house many of the single soldiers in barracks on base, but at least three-quarters of those soldiers arriving with spouses and/or children will need other housing.

For many of these families, Colorado Springs and Fountain will be logical choices because they are near the base. However, for many, the sprawling urbanization of the Pikes Peak region could make Pueblo more attractive.

Pueblo County offers an easy commute on Interstate 25, competitive housing prices and cultural and lifestyle amenities.

Last November, more than 950 interested citizens jammed the Colorado Springs Antlers Hilton's largest ballroom to attend our initial town meeting on how the Fort Carson expansion will impact our region. That event was so successful that the Independent has committed to sponsoring at least two more "town hall meetings" in 2007, including one from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, at the Pueblo Convention Center.

At this gathering, the latest data for both the Pikes Peak region and Pueblo County will be provided by researchers working for the Fort Carson Regional Growth Coordination Plan. Their findings include preliminary projections for how incoming soldiers and their dependents will impact southern Colorado's schools and housing market.

This second meeting will be in Pueblo, but it is open to anyone from the Pikes Peak region.

If you cannot attend this gathering, please watch both Maj. Gen. Robert W. Mixon's keynote speech and the breakout session on Pion Canyon in real time, live on KOAA Channels 5/30, or via Comcast Channel 9 in Colorado Springs, Comcast 247 in Pueblo or online at koaa.com. In addition, starting Wednesday, April 18, you can click on koaa.com's archives to view the proceedings.

Why have we added such a session on Pion Canyon to the agenda? The answer is simple. This event is a town hall meeting and many southern Colorado citizens want information about the Army's interest in using more of Pion Canyon for training purposes.

click to enlarge Maj. Gen. Robert W. Mixon, pictured here at Novembers - meeting, will speak again Tuesday.
  • Maj. Gen. Robert W. Mixon, pictured here at Novembers meeting, will speak again Tuesday.

Another concern that will be addressed: If the Army succeeds in moving further into Pion Canyon, how might soldiers and equipment traveling between Fort Carson and the Pion Canyon region impact traffic congestion and noise along I-25?

Other breakout groups will cover K-12 education, demand for off-base housing, workforce development, and transportation issues and opportunities. During each breakout session, citizens will have opportunities to ask questions of key military and civilian personnel.

The Independent would like to sincerely thank all fellow sponsors, especially the Pueblo Chieftain, the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, KOAA Channels 5/30 and the Fort Carson Regional Growth Coordination Plan, a joint effort of the of Pikes Peak, Pueblo and Upper Arkansas Council of Governments.

Fort Carson fall town meeting planned for Colorado Springs

A town hall meeting addressing Fort Carson's impact on the Pikes Peak region will take place sometime this fall in Colorado Springs.

This gathering will provide community members with the latest data on incoming troops and will enable citizens to ask questions of key military and civilian decision-makers.

For more information, contact Renee Hartslief, the Independent's director of community outreach, at renee@csindy.com or 577-4545.

Fort Carson town hall meeting

Keynote speaker, Maj. Gen. Robert W. Mixon; moderators, Rob Quirk and John Weiss

Pueblo Convention Center, 320 Central Main St., Pueblo (I-25 exit 98B)

Tuesday, April 17, 4-7 p.m.; social hour from 6-7. Cash bar, but your first drink is free if you return the questionnaire provided at the event.

For more on Fort Carson growth and Pion Canyon expansion, visit csindy.com/csindy/search.

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