31 Jan Onslow County community leaders meet to discuss area growth
Civilian and military leaders in Onslow County met bright and early Jan. 28 (Tuesday) for the 25th annual State of the Community breakfast. During that breakfast, the hottest topic was community growth. Some of that discussion focused on issues such as base access, school facilities and concern regarding the 2020 Census, which will greatly affect strategies for the Jacksonville NC area.
One of the reporting speakers was Major General Julian Alford, commanding general for MCIEAST and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. He told the gathering that reconstruction work on Camp Lejeune’s facilities has begun. This construction work is repairing damages the base sustained from Hurricane Florence.
Alford commented, “Really, in the long run, I hate to say this, but it’s going to be good for us. We’re going to have a new base when it is finished. It is going to take about five years to finish.”
He added that addressing the flood of base contractors requiring access to complete their work is an important issue. Base personnel are discussing several suggestions to deal with this in the interest of maintaining base security.
- A web-based program to assist in advance registration
- An additional visitor center
The New River base is facing similar security issues as a result of construction work. One of the ideas under discussion for the New River base is moving the main gate.
Additionally, Onslow County Schools Superintendent Barry Collins said he anticipates that all school construction work to finish repairing damage caused by Hurricane Florence should be complete by August this year. Not only that, construction work to build two new elementary schools is in progress. These two schools will ease overcrowding as a result of a steady growth in the student population.
The 2020 Census
Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips stressed the importance of the civilian and military community coming together to make sure that everyone is counted in the upcoming census. Apparently, an estimated 22,000 residents were not counted in the 2010 Census. This miscount resulted in Onslow County losing $402 million in funds that could have come into the county.
He said there may two main reasons for this situation. One of these is people fearing the government having information about them. The other one is military families not realizing the importance of being counted because of their temporary status. However, every person counts.
CHRISTI HILL TEAM
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