Military community likes Lacey

May 4th, 2018 by Ken

More military members live in Lacey, than in any place in the South Sound region outside of Joint Base Lewis McChord.

A survey of military living off-base found that 45 percent of all military live in Lacey.   The City of Lacey itself estimates that 27 percent of all city residents have some connection to the military – -active duty, retirees or civilian employees.

Schools in Lacey recognize this fact.  Graeme Sackrison, North Thurston School Board Chair, said that he recently attended a school meeting at Horizon Elementary School with K-3 students.  When asked how many of them have a connection to the military, Sackrison said about 60 percent raised their hand.

How did this small community on the edge of Olympia, become one of the largest military communities in the state?

Location helps.  Just six miles from the base, Lacey has always been attractive to military retirees.   Many senior officers made Lacey home upon retirement.   They were soon followed by senior NCOs who found the nearness to military services on base attractive, while typical military activities – – bars, pawn shops, sauna parlors – – were missing.

The ramp up of military activities following 9-11 and base closures in California, combined with the military focus on Asia, resulted in an increased military component at Ft. Lewis.

Enlisted personnel, with families found Lacey a good place to live.  Reasons that military families found Lacey attractive was availability of housing, safety and good schools.   Acceptance by the community was also a key.

While, JBLM will always experience increases and decreases in its population, one thing is now sure.  Lacey will always have a large military presence within its community.

Posted in Government, History, The Real News

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