Presidio of Monterey hands over first keys to home in new, energy-efficient family housing area
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Markeisha Brown, third from left, holds up the keys to the new home she will share with her husband, Spc. Darius Brown, a religious affairs specialist assigned to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, and their 4-month-old daughter Janai, in stroller, after a ceremony celebrating the opening of the Lower Stilwell housing development at Ord Military Community, Calif., Jan. 19. From left, Adam Hay, regional vice president of The Michaels Organization, Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Traylor, senior enlisted advisor for the U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, and Col. Sam Kline, commander of USAG PoM, stand with the Browns in front of their new home. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey hands over first keys to home in new, energy-efficient family housing area
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Darius Brown, a religious affairs specialist assigned to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, and his wife Markeisha, stand on the balcony of their new home in the Lower Stilwell housing development in Ord Military Community, Calif., Jan. 19. The Browns were the first family to receive keys to a home in the development. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey hands over first keys to home in new, energy-efficient family housing area
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Sam Kline, right, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, speaks at a ceremony celebrating the first key handover for the Lower Stilwell housing development at Ord Military Community, Calif., Jan. 19. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey hands over first keys to home in new, energy-efficient family housing area
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Sam Kline, right, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, shakes the hand of Spc. Darius Brown, a religious affairs specialist assigned to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, shortly after Brown accepted the first set of keys to a home in the new Lower Stilwell housing development at Ord Military Community, Calif., Jan. 19. Adam Hay, regional vice president of The Michaels Organization, and Markeisha Brown stand left. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey hands over first keys to home in new, energy-efficient family housing area
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Brown family's new home in the Lower Stilwell housing development, Ord Military Community, Calif. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey hands over first keys to home in new, energy-efficient family housing area
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Brown family will enjoy this view of the Pacific Ocean from the balcony of their new home in the Lower Stilwell housing development, Ord Military Community, Calif. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Jan. 20, 2023) – U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey welcomed the first residents to the new, energy-efficient Lower Stilwell housing development with an official key handover ceremony Jan. 19.

“We are truly blessed to receive this opportunity,” Spc. Darius Brown, a religious affairs specialist with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, told an audience of more than 35 people during a ceremony marking the occasion across the street from his new home. He will live there with his wife Markeisha and their 4-month-old daughter Janai.

The 44-acre, $80 million housing development is located in the Ord Military Community and provides 108 new housing units for junior enlisted personnel. The development includes environmentally friendly features that will save energy and water, spacious floorplans, a big playground for children and more. Many of the homes, including the Browns’, have a view of the Pacific Ocean.

Col. Sam Kline, commander of USAG PoM; Adam Hay, regional vice president of The Michaels Organization; and Casey Vazquez, community manager for The Parks at Monterey Bay, welcomed the Browns to their new home at the ceremony. The partnership between the Army and Michaels develops and oversees military housing on the Monterey Peninsula, while The Parks manages the properties.

Kline said the key handover represented more than 10 years of planning, resourcing and financial work on the part of Army officials and their partners at Michaels and the Parks.

“Thank you for all the people who put this all together,” Kline said.

Hay, a veteran, said talking about the quality of the new housing almost gets him choked up. “I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years – privatized property management – and I’ve never seen houses like this,” he said. “It’s a long time coming that we can actually do this for military families.”

Vazquez presented the Browns with their keys and a welcome basket, and Brown thanked not only Vazquez and the Parks for their help securing the house, but everyone else involved.

Markeisha Brown, who unlocked the door after the ceremony and could barely contain her excitement as she and her husband walked through their new home, said she was extremely thankful.

“It’s the start of a new year with a new house and we have a new baby, so everything is just new, starting fresh,” said Markeisha Brown, a child and youth program assistant at the nearby Monterey Road Child Development Center. “I work down the street, two minutes away, so I’m very familiar with the neighborhood. Now I’m actually a part of it.”

Oscar Ordonez, housing manager for the garrison, said the Parks, which manages the development, will move residents into homes as they become available. The homes are for military families only, and housing officials will follow the regular application and waiting list procedure to fill the homes.

On average, the homes are 1,800 square feet, and are designed to LEED silver standards and feature solar panels, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting and water-efficient fixtures. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building standard focused on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. The “silver” standard means the houses will be approximately 30% more energy efficient than the average home.