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Kalamazoo County Board asked to support Ballistic Missile Defense facility


FORT CUSTER (WKZO) -- The Kalamazoo County Commission has received a request to urge the Pentagon to place an anti-ballistic missile defense facility at the Fort Custer Training Center.

A large portion of the base is located in Kalamazoo County.

Most of the push for the installation has come from agencies in Battle Creek, primarily Battle Creek Unlimited.

They say it would create 300 permanent jobs, cost 3.2 billion to build and pump up the local economy.

It would also theoretically protect the east coast of the U.S. from missile attack.

There are just a few obstacles. Congress hasn’t approved funding.

Three other sites in Ohio, New York State and Maine, that are all closer to the east coast, are also under consideration.

It’s not yet clear the U.S. east coast will ever be at risk of missile attack.

Right now the Pentagon is just planning to be prepared in case the need arises, and there are no guarantees it will ever be built.

Two public hearings on the concept are planned next week to develop information for an environmental impact statement. That apparently is the first step in the pre-planning effort.

The first hearing will be held at the McCamley Plaza Hotel next Tuesday night., August 26th. The second will be next Thursday evening, the 28th, at Sherman Lake YMCA in Augusta.

Both sessions will get underway at 6 p.m.