Camp Ripley makes major impact on Morrison County

15 Apr 2023

Economic Development, News, Community, Business, Workforce

Camp Ripley pumped more than $75 million into the Morrison County economy in 2022.

Brigadier General Lowell Kruse, the senior commander at Camp Ripley, provided an update to the County Board, Tuesday, on what has been going on at the installation along with its impact on the community. Of that $75 million impact, he said $55 million comes from wages to Morrison County residents who work at Camp Ripley.

“We do this as an effort to enlist your help in helping educate the people you represent, your neighbors, on the importance of Camp Ripley so that we can hopefully continue to have one of the premier training bases that supports the National Guard and Department of Defense (DoD) in our nation,” Kruse said, referring to the annual update.

He said his mission statement has not changed since he took command at Camp Ripley six years ago. That is to “provide the best facilities” for the DoD, along with state partners and the National Guard, to train. It is also important to Kruse that is done “in the spirit of being the best community partner we can be.”

Following the presentation, Commissioner Greg Blaine spoke of his time in the Minnesota Legislature. When he first took his seat in St. Paul, 22 years ago, he said that was when he was first made aware of the economic impact Camp Ripley has on Morrison County and the surrounding area. At that time, he said it was about $32 million.

Now that it has grown to $75 million, he doubted the dynamic has changed among those in the Legislature.

“I experienced and witnessed a lot of envy by my colleagues,” Blaine said.

“How many of our colleagues would have loved to have a Camp Ripley in their district or in their county because of what it does, not just economically, but in the spirit of building community,” he added.

Blaine said he has friends, neighbors and relatives who work at Camp Ripley. Knowing that, he said he cannot state well enough the importance of the county’s relationship with the Camp.

Along with wages, Camp Ripley also completed about $9 million worth of construction projects in 2022. It also paid out $1.7 million in land easements to local residents as part of its Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program, which forms a three-mile buffer around the installation to prevent encroachment of development, but also aids in land management.

In all, Camp Ripley boasted more than 500,000 DoD man days in 2022, which is significantly more than the 400,000 it averages. It also increased its number of civilian man days to about 74,000 from an average of 64,000...

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