Due to the Grow the Army initiative, Fort Polk is expected to gain an additional 2,442 soldiers through fiscal year (FY) 2013. The soldiers will be accompanied by an estimated 6,398 family members. These Army units will generate the need for additional contractors and construction. The neighboring community and the installation are working closely to identify and mitigate the impacts resulting from the growth. The arrival of new families, soldiers, and supporting contractors will not only impact Fort Polk, but the nearby town of Leesville its host parish of Vernon, and other bordering parishes.
Fort Polk is located in west-central Louisiana, in Vernon Parish. Bordering Fort Polk to the south is the Vernon Unit of Kisatchie National Forest. Alexandria, the closest major city with an estimated population of 46,000, is 50 miles to the northeast. Baton Rouge, the state’s capital, is located 180 miles to the southeast.
The local economy is primarily based on service-related industries that support Fort Polk. There is a strong desire to attract more diverse businesses that will provide quality labor opportunities for the local market as well as for military spouses. Workforce training also is an issue that needs to be addressed to meet the needs of local businesses and to encourage future economic growth.
On September 16, 2011, the State of Louisiana committed $25.2 million for capital projects and transportation improvements in the City of Leesville and Vernon Parish to support economic development and the growth expected at Fort Polk.
To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.