Town halls: Residents, leaders discuss Wiesbaden transformation issues
July 21, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany - With transformation projects knocking on everyone's front door, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden leaders want to clear the air about ongoing construction.
In July the garrison hosted three housing construction town halls. A fourth one is set for July 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flyers Theater on Wiesbaden Army Airfield for WAAF, Mainz-Kastel and Mainz-Finthen housing area residents.
"As everyone knows, we've been working through a lot of issues," said Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander, during the first town hall July 1 for Aukamm Housing residents.
For the last few months garrison offices have handled residents' calls on everything from construction crews beginning work before 7 a.m. to complaints about the "prison-like atmosphere" created by fencing intended to protect growing grass.
"It's frustrating. I realize that," said Dill. "But we do want to ensure you that we're listening to you."
Targeting each housing area with specific lists of current and upcoming projects, the town halls were intended to be informative and allow residents a chance to ask questions about how some of the complaints will be corrected.
For communication on ongoing and upcoming projects, garrison staff will focus on early notification of projects at about three months before the start of construction. For long-term projects, residents will be given weekly updates on the progress of the construction or improvements.
For safety, construction crews will erect fencing around trenches dug for garrison and private utility projects.
For grounds and street maintenance, contracted grounds maintenance crews worked through a weekend in June to catch up with scheduled mowing.
Garrison and Army Corps of Engineers staff will be enforcing quality assurance measures for the grounds maintenance in construction areas.
And for work hours and conduct of workers, Roger Gerber, the Transformation and Stationing Management Office director, reminded residents "not to deal with the workers themselves."
"Call the Housing Office," said Gerber, at mil 337-6289 or civ (0611) 705-6289.
Garrison staff will be monitoring construction workers in all areas to abide by the guideline not to begin any work before 7 a.m. and stop by 6 p.m.
Construction for the various improvement projects in the garrison's housing areas is part of the Army Family Covenant promise to improve Soldier and family housing.
"We're trying to make these units to where they're the best possible," said Gerber.
While some construction projects on WAAF are being done in preparation of the move of U.S. Army Europe headquarters to Wiesbaden, the housing project updates are for quality of life improvements.
"We do care about what you think about where you live," said Dill. "Don't ever think that nobody cares or that nobody's listening."
And though the primary focuses of the town halls are construction and maintenance, leaders urge residents to ensure personal property is secured properly.
"At least safeguard your vehicles and close your stairwell doors," said Lt. Col. Mikel Russell, director of emergency services, who explained that the Wiesbaden Polizei have taken suspects into custody who are linked to 15-20 larcenies that occurred in housing during the past year, and a suspect admitted to stealing property from unlocked vehicles.