Fort Drum economic impact on North Country grew during COVID-19

ABC50 NOW

Paul Steven Ghiringhelli
Sign welcomes motorists entering Fort Drum at the Iraqi Freedom Gate. To avoid rush-hour delays this summer at this gate, installation officials urge commuters to use the Mount Belvedere Gate, accessible from Watertown by Route 283 or from Interstate 81 by Route 342, or the 45th Infantry Division Gate, roughly two miles south of U.S. Route 11 traveling on Route 26 South.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Despite the global pandemic, the Fort Drum installation’s direct economic impact to the North Country has increased according in the post’s annual report.

Fort Drum Public Affairs released the results of the 2020 Fort Drum Economic Impact through the post’s annual report on April 20, 2021. This report included a detailed review of Fort Drum’s economic impact in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence County over the last fiscal year.

According to Fort Drum, the economic impact grew approximately 8% with over $1.4 billion in direct spending in the regional economy.

“We are proud of the fact that Fort Drum is a premier training location for U.S. Army and countless National Guard, Reserve, Air National Guard, and United States Marine Corps units in the region,” stated Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division Commanding General Major General Brian J. Mennes.

Adding, “our partnership with the North Country community is second to none and knowing we are making such a tremendous impact on the local economy reiterates to me how important Fort Drum is to our nation’s security.”

Fort Drum confirmed that the greatest economic impact is made through paychecks with the installation being the largest single site employer in the area. This include payrolls from military, civilian, contractor and retirees totaling $1,235,197,212.

The installation is home to 30,000 soldiers and family members and based on a model provided by Advocate Drum, or the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, 18,910 military and civilian personnel were directly employed in 2020.

In addition, Fort Drum related spending also supported 6,058 jobs in the larger regional economy.

“Those are jobs not on Fort Drum, but that exist off-post because of Fort Drum,” stated Jefferson County Economic Development CEO David J. Zembiec.

A breakdown of the total financial impact is included below:

Financial categoryFY2020
Payrolls (military, civilian, contractor and retiree)$1,235,197,212
Contract construction, supplies and service $20,849,224
Medical Dental and TRICARE (supplies, services)$65,676,982
DoD Impact Aid $41,411,597
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Contracts$69,000,000
Utilities (payable in NYS)$17,425,021
Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes$8,602,421
Other Education (Tuition assistance)$4,400,000
Other on-post retail $6,201,623
Army compatible use buffer program$89,145
$1,468,853,225

Download the full 2020 Fort Drum Economic Impact Survey below:

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.