Fort Drum’s economic impact on north country is ‘tremendous benefit’

Updated: Sep. 4, 2020 at 11:46 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fort Drum is a huge driving force in the north country and supports almost 25,000 jobs on and off post.

Fort Drum’s 2019 economic impact is estimated to have been $1.7 billion in the tri-county region

That’s what Advocate Drum, also known as Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, concludes in its most recent report

It says Fort Drum has more than 19,000 military and civilian personnel and supports more than 5,000 additional jobs in the region.

That accounts for 22 percent of the area’s wage earners

“It’s pretty significant for one employer to have that kind of impact on an economy. I mean that would be very significant for a whole industry to support the economy,” said David Zembiec, treasurer, Advocate Drum.

The economics of Fort Drum is calculated by looking at the installation’s payroll and purchases, and the jobs supported or created by its presence.

Former Watertown Mayor Joseph Butler is now the civilian aid to the secretary of the Army and he says the numbers aren’t surprising.

“It’s a trememendous benefit to the community and really everyone is behind what they do, what they represent and certainly supporting the programs and services throUgh the businesses that operate in the tri-county area,” he said.

This year’s numbers are roughly $180 million lower than 2019 but equal in impact to 2017.

Zembeic says they will continue to advocate for Fort Drum to maintain its economic influence in the north country.

“Keep the community informed of what their needs are in terms of infrastructure and support for military families and our commitment to maintain that kind of support for military families whose various organizations that exist to do that,” he said.

Not only does Fort Drum bring a big economic boost, the jobs it creates are varied - spread across 20 different industries and jobs.

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