The Central Midlands region of South Carolina is home to Fort Jackson/McCrady Training Center and McEntire Joint National Guard Base. Fort Jackson is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, hosting training 50 percent of all soldiers and 70 percent of the women entering the Army each year. The South Carolina Army National Guard’s McCrady Training Center occupies the eastern third of the Fort Jackson footprint with training that involves the full range of weaponry within the South Carolina Army National Guard, including tanks and artillery.
The South Carolina Air National Guard (ANG) is based at McEntire, with the 169th Fighter Wing as the primary unit. The mission of the 169th is to maintain wartime readiness and the ability to mobilize and deploy expeditiously to carry out tactical air missions or combat support activities in the event of war or military emergency. The South Carolina ANG also has a state mission—to respond to the call of the governor in the event of natural disaster or domestic disturbance.
The Army nominated Fort Jackson as a candidate for the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) program in September 2006 due to concerns about potential impacts upon military operations from a proposed 143-acre development. In response, the Central Midlands Council of Governments agreed to sponsor and initiate a cooperative planning process to bring together a diverse set of public and private stakeholders interested in preserving the long-term viability of the Columbia area military installations. The study included direct participation by the City of Columbia, Richland County, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Fort Jackson, McCrady Training Center, and McEntire Joint National Guard Base. Other public agencies, jurisdictions, and private stakeholders were asked to participate as the study progressed. The Central Midlands Council of Governments Board of Directors adopted the JLUS In November of 2009.
In addition to the public meetings, the Council used a dedicated JLUS website to inform the public about the project, upcoming public meetings, as well as to receive feedback via a web-based survey tool and comment forms. Because some residents in the study did not have immediate access to the internet, the Council produced and distributed a hard copy informational brochure and survey instrument to key public locations within the study area. The Council also conducted extensive outreach to the impacted communities, including local churches, public venues, and neighborhood groups, to solicit input from area residents and increase attendance at the public meetings.
The primary outcome of the JLUS was a prioritized list of recommended strategies and actions to reduce incompatible development and facilitate future collaboration among the study partners. The Central Midlands Council of Governments is implementing a number of the JLUS recommendations through the development of two more detailed small-area land use plans, focusing on specific geographic areas of the larger JLUS study area where continued urban development is more likely to pose compatibility issues with ongoing military operations.
Community Website: www.centralmidlands.org/JLUS.asp