LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Fort Sill's relationship with the surrounding communities was the topic of the Joint Land Use Study's first public workshop at 6:30 on Monday night. Fort Sill is working with Lawton, Cache, Elgin, Medicine Park and a few other surrounding towns to make sure they don't interfere with each other's growth.
Garrison Commander Colonel Sam Curtis said in other areas of the nation, failure to communicate between post and cities hurt both parties and resulted in moving soldiers to other posts. Members of the study said that can't happen here.
Col. Curtis said they're trying to avoid shutting down training areas in a proactive way by looking at where Fort Sill boarder's various areas.
"Where those areas look like development is getting closer to and maybe there are some areas that we may need to zone differently or maybe we need to look at areas to identify if we hadn't known about but we can have the discussion about where it may be impacting training in the future," COL. Curtis said.
Since they've started working together, the Executive Director of Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments Ronnie Ward said they've already identified some areas where people wanted to build, but it would've prohibited Fort Still's training.
Ward said there's also housing that has shut down fields. He believes it's important for Fort Sill and the surrounding communities to work together.
"Fort Sill is one of the largest, if not the largest economic drivers in Southwest Oklahoma," Ward said. "Lawton wouldn't be here without Fort Sill. So, we want to protect the current missions and the future missions at Fort Sill...not only to keep it from shrinking but also hopefully growing in the future."
The Joint Use Land Study identifies things in our area and in Fort Sill where they can mutually work together for the benefit of both.
"It's Lawton-Fort Sill hyphenated for a reason in a sense of a great relationship between the two communities," Ward said. "A great nucleus of leaders that not just have relationships, but friendships trying to come together and solve common problems."
Their next step is to conduct more research and review what they learned. You can find more information about their study here. They plan to have another public input meeting, but they haven't set the date yet.