BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- The old proverb -- "home is where the heart is" -- will mean a lot more to 32 families this year as they move into their new government-owned townhomes on Smith Barracks, Baumholder.
"There were a total of 84 homes being built -- 32 are completed and mostly filled," said Harald Kastner, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Baumholder Housing chief.
The remaining 52 townhomes should be available for occupancy this spring/summer and include 34 for senior NCOs (sergeant first class to command sergeant major), 10 for company grade officers (second lieutenant to captain and warrant officers 1 and 2) and eight for field grade officers (major to colonel and chief warrant officers 3 and 4).
The new standard housing designs range in size from 1,270 to 1,660 square feet for junior enlisted and 1,485 to 1,780 square feet for senior enlisted and other residents with three- and four-bedroom configurations available.
"This is great news for Baumholder and USAG Rheinland-Pfalz," said Ann McDaniels, USAG RP Baumholder Housing Customer Service chief. "Our families deserve the best, and it is nice to be able to move at least a few families into these new homes. Many more projects are scheduled for Baumholder, and this is great news for the future population of our garrison."
The Mayor of the City of Baumholder Günther Jung, several German media outlets, as well as German Bundeswehr representatives from the Baumholder Military Training Area and Idar-Oberstein Artillery School received a first-hand look of a new townhomes, Jan. 17.
The City of Baumholder further strengthened its bond with the Baumholder Military Community when it opened a new museum in September 2018 dedicated to German-American friendship. USAG RP continues to foster a relationship built on trust, friendship and transparency with the city, which was apparent at the event.
"This is a good opportunity to see the specific investment we've made in this community and share that with the community, so people will have a very specific idea of what we are doing here to build up Baumholder," said USAG RP Commander Col. Jason T. Edwards. "Baumholder is a very special community, and as a commander, I have made an effort to take care of this important community since my arrival July 11."
Historically, Baumholder was slated for possible closure for several years, and therefore, funding for modernization of housing stopped. Baumholder became enduring in 2015 and money was allocated to modernize some buildings to include new builds on Smith Barracks and Wetzel Family Housing Area.
Land clearing for the townhouse project began in 2015, which demolished several older buildings. Afterward, construction began on the homes in March 2016, until their completion last year.
"Currently, the garrison has approximately $100 million planned projects through fiscal 2023," the housing chief said. "Right-sizing renovations will provide new, larger apartments with dedicated laundry rooms, second bathrooms and more space. When buildings are right-sized, the current number of apartments per building is lowered, but space per unit is increased."
No future renovations, to include right-sizing, will incorporate two-bedroom apartments, Kastner said. Additionally, playgrounds are included in the planning phase of all new projects. In fact, one playground was recently added with the completion of the new townhomes.
Tell us what you think Baumholder -- Participate in the Army Family Housing Survey!
Residents have a chance to rate the quality of housing and housing services by taking part in the second annual Army Family Housing Survey now until Feb. 14. The survey's purpose is to receive firsthand accounts of what Soldiers and families find important when living in Army-owned, on-post and leased family housing. The housing survey is used to identify areas in housing operations that are successful or need improvement, where funding could have the most effect and are identified as top priorities to residents, and ascertain areas of success for the garrison housing office. Take a moment and tell us what you think by participating the Army Family Housing survey today!
The survey is distributed by a private contractor via email from firstname.lastname@example.org. All results are anonymous unless the resident asks to be notified.