OEA continues to assist communities, both large and small, with adapting to Defense program changes. Communities benefit from decades of OEA knowledge and community best practices, allowing them to leverage state and federal resources to proactively and positively change their individual community.
Each project highlight story below showcases a challenge the community is facing and how this community, with OEA support, is working to solve it.
Gate at Fort Carson
Fort Carson, Colorado
Since 2006, the number of Fort Carson troops has more than doubled as a result of various Department of Defense initiatives. The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) had been selected to lead a comprehensive regional planning effort to address the impacts of this growth on the surrounding communities. With the help of federal, state, and local funding, PPACG began work on the Fort Carson Regional Growth Plan in late 2006. PPACG has worked to bring together Fort Carson representatives, local governments, business leaders, and community-based service providers that serve Fort Carson soldiers and families, as well as others impacted by the Fort Carson growth. Through this interaction, Fort Carson representatives have gained a deeper understanding of the Post’s impact on the community. The Growth Plan's steering committee (the Colorado Defense Mission Coalition) and partnership groups also have provided the community with more knowledge about Fort Carson's issues and needs, including a better understanding of Army culture and services available on-post in order to help identify needs for off-post services.
The growth at Fort Carson most heavily impacts the City of Fountain, southern Colorado Springs, unincorporated Security/Widefield, Pueblo West, Pueblo, and Canon City. While the majority of Fort Carson soldiers and families reside in El Paso County, proposed and potential gate openings further south on Fort Carson may affect future housing decisions and commuting patterns in the region, as well as the need for other services (e.g., schools, child care, etc.).
The Fort Carson region is home to four other military installations, including Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) and the Air Force Academy, as well as the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The military accounts for approximately 35 percent to 40 percent of the regional economy, and Fort Carson is the most significant component, accounting for nearly $2 billion in annual economic impact to the region and state.
A major finding of the Growth Plan was the shortage of off-post services to accommodate behavioral health and social service issues. On May 6, 2011, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Government (PPACG) launched the Network of Care website for service members, veterans, and their families. This web-based resource provides many features to assist the military community in obtaining information and assistance on a broad range of local and national services. PPACG also has partnered with Pikes Peak United Way to include 2-1-1 data (confidential and referral hotline connecting people in need with the health and human services they require) for El Paso and Teller Counties in this service directory. Users will find information on crisis intervention, veteran’s programs and legislation, social networking features, and a Personal Health Record feature to assist with care coordination. Other features include a library of more than 35,000 articles and more than 4,000 health topics, including detailed information on medications, assistive devices, and health and wellness issues. The Network of Care also includes community announcements and a community calendar, enabling organizations to share information about upcoming events or services. The Network of Care is continually updated to provide critical information to the entire military community, including veterans, family members, active duty personnel, reservists, members of the National Guard, employers, service providers, and the community at large. PPACG also is in the process of developing a Military System of Care Strategic Plan, which will assist the region in developing a collaborative system of care to better meet the behavioral health and social service needs of service members, veterans, and their families.
To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.