Shutdown clamps down on businesses surrounding Fort Knox - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Shutdown clamps down on businesses surrounding Fort Knox

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Pam Ogden Pam Ogden
Brad Richardson Brad Richardson
Jacob Pearman Jacob Pearman

RADCLIFF, KY (WAVE) - Non-essential federal government employees are wrapping up their second day off of work thanks to the government shutdown. Perhaps nowhere in our community is the impact being felt more than the area right around Fort Knox.

The post employs at least 5,000 civilians. They're off the job until further notice. The fear nearby is that their hard times will have a ripple effect on the community.

Pam Ogden wishes she was delivering a lot more orders at her small business, Alliance Printing, in Radcliff. She relies on customers who work at Fort Knox.

"The post is everything here," said Ogden. "It's how everybody gets paid. It's our money."

All around the city, you can see the signs of just how important the military post is to the community. With civilian workers now forced into unexpected time off, Ogden said many of her customers are pinching their pennies.

"I've had people that were supposed to pick up jobs, that were supposed to pick up medical records, that were supposed to pick up a lot of things that are still - I have a lot of jobs sitting there," said Ogden.

It's just one example said Brad Richardson, president of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, of how crucial Fort Knox is to the surrounding area.

"Fifty-four percent of the personal income in these two counties is directly attributable to either retired military, an active military person, or a military civilian," said Richardson.

According to Richardson, that roughly same the number of employees UPS has in Louisville. However, in the smaller community, Jacob Pearman, a Radcliff councilman and local pastor, said the impact is bigger.

"Things that happen at Fort Knox affect our community in a major way," said Pearman.

Some of his church members were furloughed Monday. 

"One lady said yesterday, ‘Thank goodness we have a little bit saved up,' but what happens with that is they're going to quit shopping, they're going to quit spending money, they're going to quit going out to eat," said Pearman.

Now all they can do is hope the shutdown doesn't last too much longer.

"I think if everybody knew, 'ok, we're off for five days,' then they could plan and budget but they don't know how long they're going to be off," Pearman said.

This comes at a time of transition for the area around Fort Knox. The post will lose 3,500 soldiers as part of Army reorganization. Earlier this year, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear estimated that when you add in families, around 10,000 people will likely be leaving the area.

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