Deployment, housing, construction dominate Baumholder mayors' meeting
Baumholder City Mayor Peter Lang makes a point to the other other mayors while Lt. Col. Sam McAdoo, U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder commander; Lt. Col. Ingo Osbahr, Military Training Area commander; and Sean Lambur, USAG Baumholder Plans, Analysis and Integration office chief; listen.

BAUMHOLDER, Germany - The arrival of new Soldiers, the deployment of the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, off-post housing for Soldiers and on-post construction were topics of discussion during a meeting between local mayors, 170th IBCT and U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder officials Sept. 9 at the Rheinlander Community Club.
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"As you certainly all know we've had many, many new Soldiers and families coming into our community over the last several months, and we've also had quite a few Soldiers and families depart the area," Col. Patrick Matlock, 170th IBCT commander, told the mayors.
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He also provided a rough timeline, explaining that some Soldiers will be deploying in the December time frame, and the remainder of the brigade is scheduled to deploy in February.
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Matlock then introduced Lt. Col. Mark Raschke and Maj. Kyle Hadlock to the mayors. Raschke is the new deputy brigade commander, and Hadlock will serve as the brigade rear detachment commander until his replacement arrives in December.
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"The rear detachment exists primarily to take care of our families and Soldiers who remain here in the community - and there is a very close relationship between the brigade detachment and the garrison team to make sure that we do all the things that we're supposed to do and take care of our Soldiers," said Matlock.
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"I'll finish with a simple thank-you for all the support and friendship that you've given to the Soldiers and their families. I continue to be very impressed about how great and steady the relationship is between all the communities in the area and the Soldiers who are here in the Baumholder community," said Matlock.
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For Lt. Col. Sam McAdoo, the meeting provided him and the more than 15 mayors who attended an opportunity to get to know each other better. McAdoo took over command of USAG Baumholder in July.
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"I'm really enjoying my time here, and I want to take this opportunity to get to know everyone better," said McAdoo.
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McAdoo told the mayors that his family is very impressed with the area and is enjoying their new home tremendously. "My younger daughter is in the German school," said McAdoo. "My wife is from Bavaria and she is really impressed with this area. My brother in law and my sister in law came down to visit and they really enjoyed the area. Everything is great. When my family is OK it makes my life much easier," said McAdoo.
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After the formalities, Sean Lambur, chief of the plans analysis and integration office, dove into the topic of construction. Lambur announced that the project to build new townhouses near the golf course has been canceled.
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"The original cost was around $33 million but they will, or would cost more now. They are just too expensive," said Lambur.
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"The new plan is to tear down 10 existing buildings and replace those with townhouses," said Lambur. The plan is to start construction next summer, and it will take about 18 months to complete. The project is not without its growing pains. Because the new buildings will be redesigned as townhouses, the buildings will go from 18 dwelling to 12. This will mean less rooms but larger apartments for Soldiers and families. "We are rightsizing for bigger families," said Lambur.
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"We will continue to lose apartment space. This forces us to look elsewhere," said McAdoo.
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"We continue to work forward in some places but not in other areas. We're looking for a good balance, but at the moment I don't foresee any military spending to create more apartments," said McAdoo.
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"In larger communities, like Wiesbaden, it's easier to find places to live off post. Here it is a little more difficult," said McAdoo.
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The trend is so that there will be fewer and fewer Soldiers living on post and more off post, explained Lambur.
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"We're trying to do the best we can to house our Soldiers and families and we're asking you, the Burgermeisters to help us with this," said McAdoo.
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An issue that adds to the off-post housing dilemma is that the nearby Kaiserslautern community has a higher cost of living than Baumholder. Military members there receive a higher housing allowance than in Baumholder and the landlords are aware of this so subsequently off post housing costs in the Kaiserslautern area are higher.
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"We're trying to make sure that that is not the reason Soldiers cannot find a place to live - because they can't afford it. Kaiserslautern landlords know that they get more money if they rent to Kaiserslautern Soldiers. We're trying to give our Soldiers the same money," said McAdoo.
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McAdoo then announced additional construction plans. "I recently met with DoDDS officials and we are looking at closing Smith Elementary School, making Wetzel Elementary School bigger and building a new high school," said McAdoo. The new high school would be constructed on the site of the original townhouse project, adjacent to the golf course.
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Lambur than announced that Baumholder continues to push forward with its zero footprint initiative that would make the military community self sufficient in terms of utility costs. A project to switch from heating oil to natural gas is scheduled to begin next summer, explained Lambur. "This is in line with our zero footprint initiative," he said. Several mayors had some questions for the garrison and brigade officials. Some of the questions were:
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Question: How long is the deployment'
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Answer: Twelve months.
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Question: How many family members are in the community'
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Answer: About 2,000, the number changes on a daily basis.
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Question: What is the radius of the "circle" in relation to the cost of living areas of Kaiserslautern and Baumholder'
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Answer: Thirty minutes driving time.
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Question: Who is the actual "renter," the Soldier or the military, in terms of payment responsibility'
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Answer: The Soldier. Housing assists Soldiers with contracts and with finding a place.
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Question: Is there a plan to expand the golf course'
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Answer: No. The new high school is slated to be built on that site.
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Question: Is there a plan to reactivate NeubrAfA1/4cke to house Soldiers and families'
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Answer: No. There is no plan to buy back NeubrAfA1/4cke.
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McAdoo closed the meeting by thanking all the mayors and invited them to participate again soon.

Page last updated Fri October 1st, 2010 at 05:49