Ravenna neighbors have mixed reactions to possible major military installation

RAVENNA - Government officials are now considering Ravenna, Ohio as one of four locations nationwide to play a major role in national security.

Camp Ravenna is currently undergoing an Environmental Impact Study to determine if the Portage County National Guard site is suitable to house a ground-based system that would be able to shoot down enemy missiles.

A big deal? Yes, and neighbors are very surprised. 

“I guess it's pretty nifty and more protection for the us I guess,” said Gregory Fink, who lives right across the street from the National Guard site. A former soldier, Fink knows what the proposal means to national security, but he’s not quite sold on the idea yet.

“We don’t know if there’s going to be debris or not.  Who’s to say if one miss-launches, and, you know what I mean?” said Fink. 

There’s mixed reactions on Camp Ravenna possibly playing a major role in U.S. defenses.  

Some agree with fink.  Courtney Strayhan said, “It's probably not a good idea, I think they should do it out where it's country, where there's nothing around it.”

Others are in favor of the proposal. James Long told NewsChannel5, “Actually I'm really surprised they haven't done something like that a really long time ago.”

For those who are not familiar with the facility, Camp Ravenna once served as an army ammunition plant during World War II, The Vietnam War and the Korean Conflict.  That eventually ended and it more recently became a National Guard training facility.

With this new proposal, Ravenna Councilman, Frederick Berry said it has the potential to be what he described as a “shot in the arm.”

“Growth,” said Berry as direct as possibly, “because it's going to bring more people which means we're going to in town here, establish more shops, more restaurants, entertainment. All of those things so there’s growth opportunity for Ravenna.”

But does that come at the risk of making Ravenna an even greater target to terrorists?

Sheila Bays, whose lived near Camp Ravenna most of her life, brought up this concern.

“The only problem I would have is if there's an all-out war and if it gets it, me that close and they happen to bomb it, of course we're all going to get it and the local area around,” said Bays, “but I don't have a problem for that ... we need to take care of ourselves first and if that means putting something over there to protect me, I'm for it.”

Elected officials like Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have already come out in favor of the proposal. 

Portman is quoted as saying, “This is great news for Ravenna and Northeast Ohio.  The recent site study by the defense department confirmed that Ravenna is well suited to fulfill this important mission … Northeast Ohio’s strategic location, robust infrastructure, and skilled workforce make it a leading contender …”

Brown made the announcement of Camp Ravenna’s selection adding, “It is encouraging that camp Ravenna is currently being considered for future Department of Defense missions … designating Camp Ravenna as a missile defense site would create local jobs and strengthen the regional economy.

While Ravenna and area leaders seem to be in favor of the proposal, nothing has been determined yet.  In fact, authorities say the Environmental Impact Study will take about 24 months to complete.

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