Study works to protect military and community, residents speak out

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

ENTERPRISE, AL (WSFA) - Enterprise residents are speaking out about a Joint Land Use Study involving Fort Rucker.

The study addresses how a military operation can co-exist with surrounding communities.

Joe McDaniel, who lives just 5,000 yards away from a firing range, says moving just isn't an option.

"This is where I was raised.  My brothers and I grew up in this house."

Joe and his brothers who run and live on the family farm say, they feel like they're living in a war zone.

McDaniel said, "These things will jar you out of a deep sleep.  I promise you."

Enterprise City Engineer Ray Bickley says, "Certainly we understand the problems, and we have empathy."

Bickley, who sits on one of the Joint Land Use Committees, says that noise is part of the heartbeat of the area.

He said, "We have to emphasis the importance of Fort Rucker.  Not just to the economy around here, but to the security of the nation."

And while city leaders say the operations are essential to military training, neighbors agree.  But they say, there has to be a better way."

McDaniel said, "It's something necessary.  We have to have it, but the military needs to do a better job of working with the people out here and making sure that they don't violate certain rights that we have."

And reducing the negative impact on residents like Joe, is what Bickley says this study is all about.

"We just have to find a way to co-habitate, and do it peacefully.

But Joe says he has his doubts.  "Time will tell," he said.

Residents and county leaders, hoping to find a solution, so that a community with both civilians and a military operation can thrive together.

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