Sugar Grove Neighbors Talk About What Could Happen if Base Closes

By: David Coy Email
By: David Coy Email

SUGAR GROVE, WV -- If nothing is done by mid 2015, the Sugar Grove Navy Information Operations Command Base could close its doors for good taking a small town with it.

The 58-year-old naval base employs more than military personnel, civilians also work there. If the the doors shut that may mean others will follow.

"When you move about 500 people from the economy in any area, it's gonna be crippling," said NIOC Base Commander Bill Kramer.

Ronnie Kimble has owned Foxes Pizza Den for 21 years. He said he may have to take some drastic measures if the base closes.

"I would probably have to lay some people off because it's definitely gonna be a little slower. The Navy is probably on some days not half my business but close."

Mary Rexrode has lived in Brandywine, a neighboring town, for more than a year. She said if jobs are lost then more will follow.

"The teachers here at the Brandywine Elementary... the number of kids would go down and they could possibly lose their jobs," said Rexrode.

She said the base is also involved in community events.

"All the activities on the base, like during Halloween you can go Trick or Treating and go to all the houses. I think maybe all of that would go away too because there would be no base," said Rexrode.

The base also provides other services for nearby towns. The Navy's emergency and fire services provide a helping hand to area volunteer squads. The military is just days away from opening a new fire station on base.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin would like to have a plan in place by the end of this year.

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