PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Asked to help dedicate the newest housing area for the military in the Monterey area, Congressman Sam Farr, U.S. Representative from California's 17th District, did that and more. During a speech that stressed the importance of providing adequate housing for the military, Farr also shared his thoughts on what the military has added to the region.

"The military has enabled us to be the most diverse, culturally integrated and educated community of its size in the United States," Farr said. He went on to list the many military institutions and organizations that dot Monterey County and their impact on the region.

Over five years in the making, General Doe Park marks a new chapter for the Ord Military Community by Fran Coen's thinking.

Land that just two years ago housed abandoned, decrepit homes, has been transformed into the new General Doe Park, said Coen, managing director of Monterey Bay Military Housing.

What once could only be described as an eye sore to the community is now what Coen describes as the gateway to Ord Military Community, offering to military families 284 brand new homes, tot lots and a community center that will feature an indoor swimming pool.

Farr called Doe Park a success, and his comment on the housing development extended beyond the reaches of the military. "Even with construction halted throughout the U.S., this community is still building and growing," Farr added.

Col. Darcy A. Brewer, garrison commander, lauded the new homes and related that it was rewarding to see military families moving into new houses against the backdrop of the dedication and ribbon cutting. He provided a welcome and introduction for Farr.

For one person attending the ceremony, the dedication was a "most beloved Easter present." In a speech by Camilla May, daughter of Maj. Gen. Jens A. Doe, she said, "What an honor to be asked to help dedicate General Doe Park." May followed Charles Ricks to the podium.

Ricks saw combat as a Soldier in the 41st Infantry Division in the World War II, serving under Doe. Ricks called Doe a "Soldier's general" and said he was truly fortunate to serve with Doe. From the original 70,000 Soldiers who served in the division, Ricks is one of 500 known survivors and will attend a reunion of the "Jungleeers" of the 41st ID later this year.

Clark-Pinnacle, as partner with the Army and Navy in the Residential Communities Initiative at Presidio of Monterey, has donated over $200,000 dollars to local schools attended by local military families; awarded over $100 million in contracts to small and local businesses, and created many jobs in the community.

The Monterey Bay Military Housing development is the Army's sixth Residential Communities Initiative privatization project and is a joint venture between Clark-Pinnacle and the Army and Navy. Leveraging private sector capital and expertise, the privatization program's goal is to eliminate inadequate housing for military families. Since the program's inception in late 2003, the Monterey Bay Military Housing project has delivered more than 1,000 new homes for military families.