A study to identify ways for Fort Leonard Wood and the surrounding communities to work better together began in September 2012.  The study is being funded by the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and is being administered by the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC).

A committee formed by MRPC members selected Benchmark CMR, Inc. of Kannapolis, NC to complete the study.  Consultants with Benchmark will be in the area  meeting with elected officials, local government staff, military officials, economic developers, environmental experts, developers, and other residents, and other stakeholders.

During the initial stages of the study the consultant will be learning about the needs of the community and the military installation.  They will use the results of these stakeholder meetings and other information to begin developing strategies that will help to ensure Fort Leonard Wood’s ability to continue its training mission and the continued economic prosperity of the region.
As an example, Willman mentioned that Fort Leonard Wood is one of the only military installations in the country where surrounding developments do not prevent total darkness from being achieved – a condition essential to some training missions.  The Joint Land use Study could help point land owners toward lighting that will retain that ability, and ultimately keep that training at Fort Leonard Wood.
The study area includes Fort Leonard Wood and portions of Pulaski, Phelps, Laclede and Texas counties as well as the cities of St. Robert and Waynesville.  As the study is being developed, the consultants will be holding public meetings to gather wider community input. The Study will be completed by October 31, 2013.  
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities.  A professional staff of 28, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.