FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — During a walking town hall Tuesday morning through the South Leiber Heights neighborhood, Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, along with representatives from the Directorate of Public Works Housing Division and Balfour Beatty Communities, Fort Leonard Wood’s housing partner, sought to engage with residents to address issues and concerns regarding on-post privatized housing.
The event in South Leiber Heights — home to nearly 900 service members and their families — was the first walking town hall of many planned for this year, and Paine said the goal is to provide a casual environment to hear what’s on the minds of Fort Leonard Wood’s service members and their families.
“We’re actively engaging our residents,” he said. “We want to hear what they want; what they need; what we can do better; and we want to hear how we’re doing with respect to providing quality housing.”
Speaking with Paine throughout the walk was Staff Sgt. Ty Fogal, a Military Police Soldier assigned to the Combat Training Company, who assumed mayoral responsibilities over the neighborhood in March.
Fogal said he’s spoken with many families in the neighborhood and encouraged all residents to speak up about their concerns regarding housing.
“Reach out with anything and everything you have,” he said. “Even if it’s a tiny issue, it can always become a bigger issue … so, voice your concerns.”
The mayoral program returned here this spring after a six-year hiatus, and Fogal said he feels it’s a really good program.
“I’ve seen it be successful at other installations,” he said. “We need to do some community outreach — get the community involved and get knowledge to all the residents. I want to let them know that we’re here to help them.”
According to housing officials, walking town halls will be scheduled monthly. The next event is set to take place mid-May in the Piney Hills neighborhood. Updated information will be published as it’s available.
Paine called communication crucial to ensuring Fort Leonard Wood is the No. 1 choice for service members and civilians.
“Sometimes, the best ideas come from the service members and their families about what could help a neighborhood, a community to have that sense of belonging,” he said. “We’re really trying to provide that means of communication so we can help with the resources to make Fort Leonard Wood a place to not just survive, but to thrive.”