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Fort Riley, Kansas

Old Bill at Fort Riley

Background

Fort Riley encompasses 100,656 acres within Riley and Geary Counties in Kansas. The September 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission "Report to the President" (Commission Report) approved the Department of Defense's recommendation to realign Fort Riley's mission by relocating the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters and numerous other Divisional units to Fort Riley and activating a Brigade Combat Team. These BRAC actions resulted in a net increase of 4,415 direct positions (2,415 military and 334 civilian) at Fort Riley. In addition to BRAC, Fort Riley also saw increases due to ongoing Department of the Army Transformation and Global Defense Posture realignment (GDPR), for a total increase of 9,529 military personnel and 2,000 civilian employees.

Community Response

Advanced and initial community planning for this military growth was coordinated and managed by the Flint Hills Regional Task Force. This task force comprised Geary, Riley, and Pottawatomie Counties and the cities of Junction City and Manhattan. In 2007, Department of Defense funds were provided to the region to complete a regional growth plan. The funds were used to complete the Flint Hills Regional Growth Plan, which enabled the local communities and service providers to lay the foundational steps necessary to absorb unprecedented population and economic growth at Fort Riley. The regional growth plan assessed current conditions, determined the future needs of an increased population, identified short-term and long-term priorities, and established a clear set of action steps for regional stakeholders. A main focus of the study was the determination of what constitutes quality of life in the Flint Hills Region and how the growth can be accommodated without diminishing community identity. The regional growth plan divided findings and recommendations into twelve separate sections representing major resource areas including: Land Use and Planning, Housing, Education, Health Care and Mental Health Care, Social Services and Child Care, Workforce, Transportation and Transit, Utilities and Infrastructure, Public Safety, Regional Collaboration, Quality of Life, and Fiscal Concerns.

A key finding of the regional growth plan was the recommendation that the region pursue the creation of a Regional Planning Organization (RPO) to address common issues that transcend the traditional political boundaries of cities and counties. In order to implement this recommendation, the task force procured professional services to undertake the Regional Planning Organization Project. The project components included: a strategic plan to address initial activities, a structure and bylaws to define its organization, a budget to identify potential revenues and expenditures, and an operations manual to guide its potential policies and procedures.

On November 20, 2009, the RPO was officially formed and named the Flint Hills Regional Council (FHRC). The member agencies (currently 13 cities and 5 counties) completed resolutions of support and formed and seated a Board of Directors between November 2009 and December 2010. The FHRC is now operational, providing the region with the capacity to facilitate regional coordination, communication and monitoring. It now exists as a formal body to enable the region to speak with one voice and better coordinate efforts in areas as: economic development, military relations, environment, homeland security and disaster relief, data coordination, technical assistance and coordination for grants, land use planning, population forecasting, social services, education and workforce, housing, and transportation. Coordination in all of these areas is critical to the implementation of the Flint Hills Region Growth Plan.

To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.