Lt. Col. Kevin J. Quarles, commander U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels

NEUMARKT, Germany -- For the first time in the history of the Hohenfels Military community, a garrison commander was invited to participate in the city council meeting of the County of Neumarkt as the "unofficial burgermeister of the 20th community of the county" last month.

"Normally being 20 out of 20 in a sport or academic endeavor is not something to celebrate. Today, I could not be prouder to stand before you as the representative of the 20th community of Neumarkt," said Lt. Col. Kevin J. Quarles, USAG Hohenfels commander. "The significance of this honor will not diminish over time or with new garrison commanders."

The invitation marks a deepening of the commitment for cooperation that began with the historic signing of the Sustainable Communities Partnership between USAG Hohenfels and Neumarkt County in September, the first such declaration between the U.S. Army in Europe and a host nation.

Quarles presented information on Hohenfels' impact on the surrounding communities, including social, economic, leisure and travel, and education activities. Cooperation opportunities in the areas of renewable energy, environmental protection, and cultural enrichment were also discussed.

"This is the first step towards formalizing our partnership and finding ways we can help support each other," Quarles said. "It's really refreshing and exciting to have this opportunity presented to us."

Neumarkt County Commissioner Albert Loehner said that while the garrison has always enjoyed good relations with the surrounding communities, he is looking forward to expanding their association.

That expansion reached what Loehner called "a milestone in our development" with a partnership between the Hohenfels Middle/High School and the Neumarkt Knabenrealschule (High School for Boys).

Velburg's Mayor, Bernhard Kraus said that in the past the training center had sometimes been viewed as an obstacle, but over time it has become a bridge to other counties.

Uwe Krappitz, managing director of the regional development firm Regina GmbH, said meetings are planned in April and May to discuss how the collaboration could be improved and strengthened within the domestic economy.

"We're meeting in April to discuss the potential to rejuvenate housing markets outside the gate," Quarles said. "We need additional options for community members so they have short lines of travel, good locations, and modernized homes that meet everyone's needs."

He added that development plans are in the works for a 16 home sub-division for off-post housing.

"We're excited about investment opportunities for our partners off-post," he said. "It's a win-win situation for everyone."

"The promise of working together in the future is really profound, and quite honestly, exciting," said Quarles.

Page last updated Wed April 13th, 2011 at 07:09