Meetings over proposed missile intercept site

CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Could a missile defense system be coming to West Michigan?

That's the hot topic in Calhoun County Tuesday evening, as a round of public hearings is set to begin.

The Fort Custer Training Center is one of four sites where the system could be built.

The goal is to protect the United States against attacks from enemy missiles.

The thought of having these missiles in West Michigan is scary to some, but others say it has to go somewhere, and the area could benefit from it.

Right now, an environmental impact study is being done to see if Fort Custer would be the right place for the missile defense system.

Plans call for up to 20 missiles to be placed there, ready to go at a moment's notice, if missiles are being launched from a foreign country.

The missiles would be able to intercept and destroy any enemy warheads launched at the eastern U.S.

Some fear it would make West Michigan a target for enemy attacks, and that a system like this is no longer needed.

Military officials argue that it's just a matter of time before a missile attack is launched, with North Korea and Iran building up arms.

Local officials have come out in support, saying it would bring nearly 1,800 jobs, and pump billions of dollars into the area.

"People also need to know before we jump to conclusions, we've had a missile defense system before here at Fort Custer," said Battle Creek State Representative Kate Segal. "But if this is something we're investing in as a country, it's something we'd definitely want our men and women here in Michigan to have."

There will be two public hearings where you can offer input and see plans.

The first one is Tuesday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the McCamly Plaza Hotel in downtown Battle Creek.

Then, Thursday from 6 to 9 at the Sherman Lake YMCA, on North 39th Street in Augusta.

It could take 18 months before the impact study is complete.

Other sites up for consideration include Ohio, Maine, and New York.