Longare community members and elected leaders joined U.S. Army and Italian military officials recently to open a road that will enhance safety for Soldiers and local people.
More than 80 people took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony, held Oct. 4 at Via dei Martinelli. The midday event marked the completion of major upgrades to the street leading up to the post in Longare, home to the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater), military police and U.S. Army Reserve units.
During his remarks, Col. Matthew Gomlak, U.S. Army Garrison Italy commander, said the project showed the teamwork between the municipal administration of Longare and the U.S. military over many years.
“The investment allowed us to create a safer road for our Soldiers and for the citizens of Longare,” Gomlak said.
The $1.4 million project included the repairing of the Italian road leading up the access control point, construction of a sidewalk, energy efficient lighting and a new parking lot nearby. The project, which has its roots in early planning as far back as 2007, resulted of a design coordinated by the American and Italian military with the town of Longare. For many years, Soldiers everyone entering and leaving post, would have to go through the only gate to the installation that was directly on a busy highway with fast moving traffic with no deceleration or acceleration lanes in an extremely unsafe manner.
“While we are happy to deliver on a more streamlined way for everyone to get in and out of the installation here, we’re also really excited to hopefully reduce stress on the Rivera Berica highway” said Col. Pat Dagon, District Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, the organization who oversaw the construction of the project.
Brig. Gen. Aida T. Borras, Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force-Africa, also attended the ribbon cutting. Many Italian neighbors came over for the event and took part in socializing afterward.
Before the ceremony, Longare Mayor Matteo Zennaro toured the post, viewing construction projects to repair existing facilities where soldiers from the 207th MIB(T) will soon have new office space. Zennaro also saw a demonstration of military working dogs who also call Longare home. During his remarks at the ceremony, Zennaro said he looked forward to seeing the developments that the U.S. military planned for the future.