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RADCLIFF, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ft. Knox is about to take a big hit. The Pentagon says it will deactivate an entire brigade at the post because of budget cuts.
The decision will likely remove more than 3,000 soldiers and thousands more family members. The impact will be felt well beyond the gates of Ft. Knox.
The downsizing of Ft. Knox is going to impact the economy of the entire region. But especially right outside the post's gates in Radcliff. Yet folks there remain surprisingly optimistic.
Terry Shortt opened Leo's Donut Shop eight months ago. He says Ft. Knox is a big part of his business. "Sixty to seventy percent of our people are military people," said Shortt.
But he says he's not worried that the potential loss of thousands of Army customers might blow a donut hole in his business plan. "The worst case scenario would be that we wouldn't have three employees anymore. We may have to let somebody go. I don't really anticipate that because we do have steady business now," he said.
That optimism seems to prevail throughout Radcliff. They've been through rounds of closings and realignments before. "But we have maintained and recovered very well. We still have a great opportunity at Ft. Knox for potential growth," said Radcliff Mayor J. J. Duvall.
Gov. Steve Beshear says one key to the future of Ft. Knox may be the Human Resources Command, headquartered in a new multi-million dollar building on the post.
"Well, why not have the Navy and the Marines and the Air Force all running their stuff through that same Human Resources Command? So, we're working on things like that," said Beshear.
Back at Leo's, Terry Shortt, who also heads Radcliff's Small Business Alliance, admits some businesses may fail. But he believes most will adapt and attract new customers.
"We have 25,000 people that live in Radcliff. All of them haven't been to Leo's Donuts yet. So, I still have some work to do. Everybody in business still has some work to do," he said.
The cuts will not take full effect until 2017. A lot can happen between now and then. And when the dust finally settles, Radcliff is counting on Ft. Knox to remain a big part of this community.