PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. — Under sunny blue skies, the Presidio of Monterey celebrated the grand opening of a new, energy-efficient housing development for junior enlisted personnel on April 13.
Col. Sam Kline, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey; Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Traylor, USAG PoM senior enlisted advisor; U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta; and Adam Hay, regional vice president of The Michaels Organization, cut a ribbon officially opening the Lower Stilwell housing development in Ord Military Community. The 44-acre, $80 million development provides 108 new housing units.
“As we know, providing safe, affordable, accessible housing for our military personnel and their families is a top priority and exemplifies the Army’s 'People First' strategy,” Kline said during the ceremony. “The sacrifices our service members make in service to our country are immeasurable and it is our duty to ensure that they have a supportive community to call home. This is why we are so proud.”
The development represents more than 10 years of work with multiple partners, five command teams and more than $80 million in locally generated reinvestment, Kline said. The garrison is thankful for everyone who worked on the project.
“We are thrilled to finally see it come to life,” Kline said.
The community of spacious single-family and duplex homes includes environmentally friendly features that will save energy and water. Many of homes have a view of the Pacific Ocean, and the ceremony took place in a park within the development, next to a large playground.
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.
Panetta said the development will provide modern and safe homes for the troops and their families and benefit the whole Central Coast area.
Panetta, who grew up in the nearby Carmel Valley and has memories of hearing ordnance explosions at the former Fort Ord, said the Monterey Peninsula has a long tradition of serving service members.
The Lower Stilwell housing development joins the Major General William H. Gourley VA-DoD Outpatient Clinic, the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery and the Veterans Transition Center of California as examples of that tradition, Panetta said.
“It’s these types of things that demonstrate how important our military members, our veterans, are not just to our country’s security, but to our community’s security,” said Panetta, a veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve.
The Michaels Organization partners with the Army to develop and oversee military housing on the Monterey Peninsula, and Hay thanked everyone who helped make the development a reality.
Hay, a veteran, said he also wanted to thank all service members and veterans.
“We wouldn’t be here without them,” Hay said. “None of this is possible without them doing what they do every day, so if you’re a service member—past, present—thank you very much.”
The Parks at Monterey Bay manages local military housing for The Michaels Organization, and Victoria Atayde, community director for the Parks at Monterey Bay, also thanked everyone for their efforts to bring about the development’s opening.
“We are grateful to have the very supportive partnerships that help facilitate bringing this beautiful community to our service members and their families,” Atayde said.
Maj. Mark Musser, USAG Presidio of Monterey chaplain, delivered the event’s invocation, noting that an unknown person once said, “A house is made of bricks and beams, a home is made of hopes and dreams.”
Musser prayed that the military families who live in the development will appreciate the opportunity and help support others by becoming involved in the community.
“May each of these new families embrace that when they come home, they are home because of their love for one another,” Musser said. “I ask for a blessing of protection around this new community and the police who stand watch for it.”