Sustainable Ozarks Partnership asks Council for support

Sustainable Ozarks Partnership

LDR photo/Steve Smith

Lebanon Mayor Jared Carr, left, accepts a “Great American Defense Communities” banner from Dorsey Newcomb of Sustainable Ozarks Partnership (SOP) at Thursday night’s council work session. SOP is asking the city to contribute $15,000 a year to its efforts to promote Fort Leonard Wood and the surrounding region.

By: 
STEVE SMITH ◆ SSMITH@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

Lebanon’s economic health is closely connected to the viability of Fort Leonard Wood, representatives of Sustainable Ozarks Partnership told the Lebanon City Council Thursday night.

At a council work session, Steve Ehrhardt, vice chairman of Sustanable Ozarks Partnership, asked the city to commit $15,000 a year for the next three years to the organization, which works to promote the region and Fort Leonard Wood. The council expects to act on the request at a future meeting.

“We realize we’ve got to come back every year and show the return on that investment,” Ehrhardt said. “No city’s going to say we’ll write your check for there years right now, so really we’re here to ask for 2018, then come back and give updates.”

Ehrhardt told the council that a study showed Laclede County’s proximity to Fort Leonard Wood resulted in an economic benefit of about $222 million in 2015. He said the fort supported more than 3,600 jobs in Laclede County and $165 million in labor income. But because of reductions at the fort in the past three years, he said Laclede County’s economy is estimated to have lost nearly $33 million in output, 468 jobs and more than $14 million in labor income.

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