[email protected] TECHNOLOGY PARK, (Odon) Indiana — Naval Support Activity Crane briefed the White River Military Coordination Alliance about topics relevant to the communities neighboring the installation at a first-of-its-kind “State of the Installation” address during the Alliance’s third-quarter meeting.
The briefing, delivered by NSA Crane Commanding Officer, CDR Timothy J. Powers, was written into the Alliance’s charter and by-laws to take place annually when the Alliance was formed in late 2018 and provides an opportunity for Crane to share its strategic goals and any operational changes or proposed construction projects that may impact the Alliance membership, which includes state and local government officials, economic development officials, and Crane representatives.
Crane’s address began with projections that the installation anticipates hiring 850 employees above attrition during the next three years, ranging from highly-skilled to blue-collar positions, and included the following key topics:
- Construction projects: Crane was chosen as the location for a new Underwater Launch Test Facility to support the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s strategic mission and recently completed a new flexible manufacturing facility for Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
- Operational changes: The Navy Gateway Inns and Suites that was located within the installation closed, in part, due to the construction of the new hotel near WestGate Tech Park, which will better accommodate visitors to the installation.
- Legislative needs: Crane highlighted Joint Land Use Study recommendations that could improve collaborative planning, including allowing a non-resident representative from the military to serve as a non-voting member on plan commissions and adopting development notification procedures through the state building permit review process.
- Community impact: Crane’s estimated economic impact is $2 billion annually through salaries, contracts, mutual aid, partnerships, recycling, timber sales, and others.
- Global impact: Crane supports every branch of service in the U.S. military and must be resourced and ready to meet the military requirements that arise from the conflicts and tensions that happen globally.
- Opportunities to work better together: The Alliance will continue to formalize communication channels between Crane and the community to more proactively share information.
The State of the Installation briefing was followed by an opportunity for the Alliance members to tour the installation and learn about Navy and Army features on the base.
“The briefing was very informative and I have a better understanding of the activities both ongoing and future that I can now share with my community. Also, I’ve never had the opportunity to tour the base, and I’ve been involved in local government for over seven years and lived in the area all of my life,” said Jathan Wright, Clerk-Treasurer for the City of Linton and Secretary of the Alliance. “Learning more about what Crane does was very eye-opening, and we should be incredibly proud that technology that saves American lives every day is developed right here in our region.”
During the meeting, the Alliance was updated on the progress of the two consultants, Tierra Plan and Crafted Communications, who were selected to support key areas of work: encouraging land conservation incentives for areas around Crane and improving communication between Crane and the community.
Tierra Plan, which specializes in geographical information systems and databases, has identified 17 conservation incentive programs in the region and is gathering GIS data that will become part of a Conservation Incentive Toolkit resource for the landowners neighboring Crane. Tierra Plan will conduct a pilot program for the tool with a small group of community stakeholders later this month, with an anticipated public launch in the fall.
Bloomington-based strategic communications and public relations firm Crafted Communications has completed a communications environmental scan that reviewed communication challenges and opportunities between Crane and the community and has submitted a proposed strategic communications, social media and outreach plan, which includes an Alliance public information website and several strategies to connect Crane and its neighboring communities to be implemented in the coming months.
The Alliance membership communities will prepare a “State of the Community” briefing for an upcoming Alliance meeting, which will provide the community the opportunity to inform Crane leadership of changes that may impact the installation, including comprehensive plans, master plans, transportation plans, development projects, and capital improvements plans.
The next quarterly Alliance meeting will be held in November.
About the White River Military Coordination Alliance
The Alliance is a community organization that was formed in 2018 to promote positive development and growth in the communities that surround Naval Support Activity Crane and Lake Glendora Test Facility (Daviess, Greene, Lawrence, Martin and Sullivan counties) by facilitating two-way communication between the communities, counties, state agencies, and NSA Crane. The focus of our 24-member alliance is to create opportunities for economic prosperity and land conservation in the region, safeguard Crane’s military mission, and protect community health and safety. Follow the Alliance on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.