White Hall Creates Military Affairs Advisory Committee to Support Arsenal

WHITE HALL, Ark -- Growing concerns the federal government could shut down the Pine Bluff Arsenal, or consolidate jobs at the military installation, have many of those in the area gearing up for a battle.

Greg Terry has worked at 'Terry Hardware' since his father opened the store in 1975.

"The community has been real good to us for 40 plus years. Overall, got a real good customer base out here in White Hall," said Terry.

Terry said some of the store's best customers are employed at the nearby Pine Bluff Arsenal.

"They buy quite a few different items from me and have been for a number of years ... Anything from A to Z," said Terry.

He said the Pine Bluff Arsenal -- and those who there -- account for a good amount of the store's profits.

"They hire a lot of people from this area and they buy a lot of stuff from here," said Terry.

But House Bill 5540 could impact the Pine Bluff Arsenal and Terry's business. It calls for the consolidation, closure and realignment of military installations.

"I would probably have to scale back on employees and find some new commercial type customers," said Terry.

White Hall resident David Beck shares the same sentiment.

"One of the main reasons White Hall exists is the arsenal," said Beck.

Beck is the chairman of the newly formed "Military Affairs Advisory Committee of White Hall." The group consists of about 7 people from White Hall and Pine Bluff, who have come together to share why the military installation should remain untouched.

"We feel like no one can tell our story better than we can," said Beck.

Officials with the Pine Bluff Arsenal said nearly 800 jobs and about $100-million annually would be lost if base realignment and closure hits the military installation. Both Beck and Terry hope it does not come to that.

"It's a premiere defense facility. so when they bring in dignitaries from other places and they're able to tour that arsenal and see what great of a place it is, that's also a boost for our community," said Beck.

"We could survive," said Terry. "Kind of slow down a little bit for a while."

Right now, the bill sits in front of the U.S.. House of Representative Subcommittee for Readiness for review.

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