By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsDecember 5, 2019
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 5, 2019) -- Winter is a little more than two weeks away, but with recent bouts of snow it was very much on the minds of Fort Drum residents during the Housing Town Hall on Dec. 4 at Fort Drum.
Mountain Community Homes (MCH) officials answered questions - from audience members and residents watching online - about topics such as snow removal services, pavement salt and home inspections.
Allyssa Romeo, MCH director of property management, said that there are 34 miles of road and 70 miles of sidewalk within the housing communities on post, and that a crew of 40 full-time snow removal operators is responsible for covering that area.
"They focus on the main roadways first, then the loops and streets, bus stops and sidewalks along major roadways," she said.
Also on the prioritized list are mail kiosks, overflow parking areas, sidewalks along side roads in front of homes, and fire hydrants.
"Our goal, when a snow event happens, is to get every road touched within three hours," Romeo said. "It's very contingent on when the snow starts."
She said that residents have expressed frustration when snowplows push back snow onto the end of their driveways, but that it is common even for those who live outside of Fort Drum. However, if Bobcat operators are moving snow towards homes or vehicles, or appear to be speeding through residential areas, then residents should report this to their community center.
"It's really important that we hear that feedback and that we have those details," she said. "We want to make sure we're getting the opportunity to retrain the operators and make sure they are understanding expectations."
For residents who would like assistance with clearing snow from the driveways and sidewalks, each community has a list of providers who offer snow removal services. Phone numbers are available on the Mountain Community Homes website and at the community centers.
During the Q&A, one resident asked for clarification about home inspections. Before any family moves into a residence, the property is inspected twice - first by Mountain Community Homes staff and then by Fort Drum Housing Division inspectors. Col. Jeffery Lucas, Fort Drum garrison commander, said that no Soldier or family member should have to submit a work order upon moving into their home.
"The goal is zero work orders when you occupy a set of quarters, but the second part of that is that we want this to be a place you enjoy living in," he said.
Lucas said that when residents feel that their home falls short of that goal, they should direct those concerns to Mountain Community Homes and be specific about the issues.
Residents were reminded that they can submit service requests through the Resident Portal app, on the MCH website or by calling (315) 955-6650. Residents who are unsatisfied with the response can take additional action by involving their chain of command or calling the Commanding General's Hotline at (315) 772-6666 (option 1).
Lucas said that military chain of command inspections are conducted when there are life-health-safety issues identified in a home, but only after notifying the tenant first.
Mike Thomas, Fort Drum Law Enforcement Division deputy director, addressed a comment submitted online about attempted home break-ins. He said that it was a topic discussed at the monthly "Coffee with the Chief" meeting. Since then, military police patrols have increased in the housing communities, and investigators are following up on reports of potential burglaries.
For people who want to contribute more to their community and become part of the decision-making process, Klosner said that a new resident advisory board will form in January.
"We're looking for 10 residents who want to help shape the communities in which they live," she said. "If you know someone interested in community development, events, communication - this is a great fit for them."
Board meetings will be conducted monthly. Information and an online application are available at www.fortdrummch.com/RAB.
The housing livestream recording is available at https://www.facebook.com/drum.10thmountain/.
After the Housing Q&A, Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials shared information about upcoming events and activities.
Michelle Winter, FMWR Marketing director, said that a new ice skating rink is in the works for 2020. Other than Remington Park being the probable location, she said that little more could be revealed, as planning is still underway.
Winter announced that Hyper Bowling will be a new feature at Pine Plains Bowling Center starting in January. This is a new style of interactive bowling game that is like playing a video game on the lanes.
"It is under construction right now, and they just started putting in the floors yesterday," she said. "It looks amazing, and it is going to be so good."
Other upcoming events:
*The All Army Hockey Team will arrive at Fort Drum on Dec. 26 for training camp in preparation for an international tournament in January. The team will challenge the Watertown Wolves at 3 p.m. Dec. 31 at Watertown Municipal Arena. The scrimmage is free and open to the public.
The team also will conduct a community outreach event from 1 to 2 p.m. before the game. Fort Drum has hosted the All Army Hockey Team every year since it was established in 2017.
*A new fitness challenge will be conducted from Jan. 8 to March 18 for all Department of Defense cardholders at Fort Drum. Community members can register individually or as teams of three at any of the fitness centers on post, or online on the Fort Drum FMWR website. The "Slim the Mountain" program is designed so participants can remain anonymous throughout the competition while taking advantage of a variety of resources to succeed. Weigh-ins will be required on a bi-weekly basis at Atkins Functional Fitness Facility using the INBODY Scanner.
A challenge kickoff will be announced closer to the start date, and an awards presentation will be scheduled for the finale.
"This challenge - and our program in general - is to help teach people to love fitness and learn how to take care of yourself," said Aly Thibodeaux, from FMWR Sports, Fitness and Aquatics. "Even if you hate going to the gym, there are so many other ways you can work on your fitness. So, that was our main focus, and we hope to get a lot of people interested."
Thibold also said that new fitness programs will be introduced next year, to include a "How Far Will You Go" cardio challenge, Guide to Training seminars, and squat, deadlift and bench press workshops.
Additional details will be available at www.drum.armymwr.com and on FMWR social media platforms.