Groups still seek public input about CRTC

ALPENA — The United States Military, Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments are still seeking public input about the base and its impact on the region. A meeting to discuss the issue will be held on Oct. 11 at the library.

A joint land study began in April to determine what public concerns are about the military installation and what measures can be taken to address them. Tetra Tech, who was hired by NEMCOG to conduct the study, will lead to a strategic plan aimed to improve communication and strengthen partnership with the base. Senior planner Heather Mendenall said getting views and opinions for residents is critical in crafting a thorough plan that can address issues and tighten bonds.

“It examines possible issues and benefits,” she said. “It is critical we get the input from the people who live in Alpena because they will have the most important opinions to contribute.”

There was a meeting earlier in the year, but according to Mendenall, the turnout could have been better. She said despite the number of people a list of concerns was compiled from the meeting, online surveys and interviews with township, city, county and chamber partners. Mendenall said at the next meeting she wants peoples thoughts on each matter on the list.

“We want to see if they agree on them and then rank them by priority,” she said. “Then we will have a meeting in February where we will present the draft strategy and then in April deliver the preliminary report.”

NEMCOG Deputy Director Denise Cline said the CRTC provides a lot of benefits to Alpena and beyond. She said Camp Grayling, where the same study is being done, also serves up the same benefits in that region.

“They have a significant economic impact and this study will seek to promote community development that is compatible to military training, testing and operational missions,” Cline said. “Also to ensure that the communities and military thrive and have a positive impact on each other.”

Mendenall said the base and Northeast Michigan appear to work well together and Alpena is a good fit for the CRTC. She said the area has things others don’t and that could help ensure the longevity of the base.

“It is a very unique training space and it is something the base will be able to leverage to its advantage,” she said. “I also think any plan that shows a positive relationship between the military and community, as well as helps grow development, only benefits it.”

The meeting is slated to begin at 6 p.m. and will wrap up at about 7 p.m.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.