BAGHDAD - The clink of a shovel against a dirt road promised a better future for the people of the Zaidon area of the Abu Ghraib county west of Baghdad.

In a ground-breaking ceremony, members of the 24th Iraqi Army Division, local leaders and Soldiers serving with the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad celebrated the beginning of four projects in the area July 22.

The first project is to pave the main road that leads to Zaidon's market, where daily customers buy the essential nutritional edibles for their families to consume.

The second project is to reconstruct the area's milk storage facility near the market, which will keep milk fresh for a longer period of time.

Plans have also been made to bring more electricity and cleaner water to Zaidon, as well as install solar lights in the area, said Lt. Col. Jim Bradford, a native of Lynchburg, Tenn., commander, 1st Bn., 63rd Armor Regt.

"The area is important because it sits at a crossroad among three Qadas: Yousifiya, Abu Ghraib and the Fallujah Province," he said. "As improvements have been made inside the Amanat and the city of Baghdad it's now time to start focusing on the Qadas and the rural areas to bring those same essential services that we are now starting to enjoy inside the city."

The projects, which will be funded by both the Government of Iraq and the Coalition forces, took a lot of planning among the CF, the Iraqi Security Forces, the leaders of Zaidon and the contractors hired to complete the developments.

"The people living in the area are very cooperative; they are good people and they deserve good services here. We are doing whatever we can to improve the situation in this area, which is a farming area," said Capt. Jabbar Noury, 24th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division. "Everybody is trying to be partners and are trying to work together to enhance the quality of life in the area."

As the quality of life has improved in Baghdad, Bradford said all the parts are coming together to try and equal the level of services in Zaidon.

"None of this could be possible today or in the future without cooperation among the people, the government leaders, as well as the Iraqi Security Forces," said Bradford. "Today is a small step that is one step for many that we are going to take to improve things in Zaidon."