Around 50 Rolla area business leaders gathered at Matt's Steakhouse on Friday to hear the latest news from Fort Leonard Wood Garrison Commander Col. William Pfeffer.
In his 25-minute Powerpoint presentation, the colonel noted among other things that $454 million in construction is currently underway on post. This includes a number of new housing projects for both military family and single soldiers.
On behalf of the 34,000 members of Fort Leonard Wood, the colonel thanked the community for its support especially during a listening session that occurred earlier this month in which it was discussed whether the Army structure of the future was going to involve major personnel cuts.
"It was being floated in the media that cuts could involve around 3,900 people but that figure quickly became 885 thanks to your support," he said.
Because of its role as a basic training facility for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood will see more than 200,000 visitors to the installation a year.
"The majority of those are moms and dads who come to see their son or daughter graduate from either basic or one of the many courses we offer at the institution," he said.
Col. Pfeffer pointed that out because those visitors need a place to stay in the community as there is no motel system on base. Money then is being floated into the local economy on housing and food for visitors to this area.
In fact he estimated that the military installation pumps $3.1 billion into the Missouri economy each year and he doesn't see that changing in the near future.
The colonel has been at the fort for about a year now. He and his wife and children arrived from Italy.
"Coming back to the countryside here in Missouri, where it is a sportsman's paradise, has been great," he shared.
The next luncheon for Rolla area leaders is scheduled for December.