The inside of the Leaders Club at Fort Knox feels like a mini Columbus.
More than 162 schools, municipalities, counties, business and groups from the Chattahoochee Valley are represented in Kentucky providing information to Fort Knox soldiers and families preparing to move to Fort Benning in the next 18 months.
There are well over 200 people, from public and private school educators, real estate agents and bankers, meeting with Fort Knox military and civilian personnel facing the move to Columbus as part of the U.S. Army's relocation of the Armor School to Georgia.
The advance teams will start relocating this fall with the process complete by September 2011. Projections have as many as 30,000 people moving into the Columbus area.
This event sponsored by the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and The Valley Partnership, a regional economic development agency, makes it real said Waddell Realty agent Kim Freeman.
"Now, you can feel it is real, rather than being told it's real," Freeman said.
It is real for the soldiers, too.
"Most of the families are concerned -- where will I live? where will the kids go to school? will it be better than what I have now?" said Lt. Col. Larry Reeves, a Georgia native who will not be making the move, though many under his command will. "This type of event helps."
More than 300 soliders and more than 450 people total moved through the Leaders Club in the first hour this morning.