By Bob ReinertMay 8, 2009
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Anyone who lives or works on Fort Lewis knows how rapidly the installation has grown in recent years.
To make certain that growth can be sustained, a new Fort Lewis Master Plan was developed.
The plan will be introduced to the installation community in a presentation Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Carey Theater. Col. Cynthia A. Murphy, the garrison commander, will provide an overview of the plan, which has been in the works since August 2007.
"We're just kind of hoping that people will be pleased to know that there's a cohesive plan being prepared for the good of all Fort Lewis," said Lana Leiding, sustainability advocate with the Environmental Division of Fort Lewis Public Works.
According to Leiding, the plan began with area development plans for the 13 neighborhoods identified on Fort Lewis: Historic Downtown, North Fort, East Division, Madigan, Old Madigan, Hillside, Jackson, Gray Army Airfield, Miller Hill, Logistics Center, Greene Park, 3rd Brigade and American Lake. After the rollout event presentation, a subject-matter expert for each neighborhood will stand by to answer attendees' questions.
"What kind of Fort Lewis do we want' It started with a vision," said Leiding, adding that the positioning of buildings, roads and parks was considered "to make it a really vibrant and wonderful place to live and work. But it all has to be kind of pieced together."
A transportation plan deals with streets and roads that tie the neighborhoods together. Pedestrian and bicycle trails will be parts of that.
"There's energy savings built into all of this, which, of course, is a national concern," Leiding said. "It's just a smart way to do things."
Leiding said the plan addresses the "triple bottom line. Not only are there benefits to the mission, but there's benefits to the community and there's benefits to the environment. In controlling the growth on our cantonment area, that, of course, saves the training areas to be used for training."
This idea of sustainable, self-contained communities where people live and work within walking distance has been popular for years in the civilian world. The Army has adopted the concept.
"Fort Lewis was chosen as the place to kind of test it out," Leiding said. "It's going to be used as an example for the rest of the Army."
"It's modeled a lot more on what cities do than past Army master plans have been," said Tom Tolman, an architect with Public Works Master Planning.
Tolman said the plan looks out to 2017, the 100th anniversary of the installation's birth as Camp Lewis. He added that the plan has already won a pair of national awards from the American Planning Association.
"I think there's both challenges and opportunities," said Tolman of the Fort Lewis plan. "How can you make it a better place to live'"
Terry Austin, the installation sustainability coordinator, suggested thinking about Fort Lewis as a "giant puzzle." She added that the plan fits the puzzle pieces together.
"You can start to visualize how things actually will work together," Austin said. "It will be exciting for people."
Austin called the Fort Lewis plan "the most extensive ... in the Army, and it is exciting. And if I was someone living on the installation, I might want to know ... that I'm living in a place that's really going to be such an innovative community.
"It's all about quality of life. It's just a wonderful project."
Bob Reinert is a reporter with Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian.