By Kimberly K. FritzNovember 24, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 25) -- Persistent parking problems, a shortage of infant child care spaces and the limited access to and from the installation after 9 p.m. were just a few of the topics discussed at an Army Family Action Plan Conference out-brief here Friday in the Soldier Support Center auditorium.
About 25 community members participated in the actual Fort Lee AFAP Conference Nov. 16 and 17 at Memorial Chapel. They worked together to examine quality of life, community service and mission requirement issues submitted to AFAP, a 27-year-old program that is specifically focused on making life better for the Army Family.
Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, Combined Arms Support Command, Sustainment Center of Excellence and Fort Lee commanding general, heard from three focus groups during the out-brief.
The groups addressed consumer services, family support and forces support. Each had an opportunity to present three of the top issues they discussed and the recommendations for action or improvement.
The consumer services focus group cited insufficient parking at the Army Logistics University campus, the fact that the Lee Gate is the only 24-hour access point on the installation and the need for a translator for non-English speaking members of the community. Laura Tennant, the spokesperson for the focus group, briefed the general and Col. Michael G. Morrow, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee commander and other community leaders about the concerns identified and discussed. Suggestions for a parking garage, an additional 24-hour gate - preferably one near family housing - and a subscription to a telephonic translation service were made from by the group\'s members. T
he work group assembled to discuss family support issues identified the shortage of quality and affordable infant care on post, the appearance of preferential hiring practices on Fort Lee and the lack of clarity in the hours of Kenner Army Healthy Clinic's Pharmacy. Representative Danielle Parker shared the scope of the issues and group's recommendations.
The final focus group presented issues and recommendations that centered on better communication for services offered here. First cited was the presence of vehicle traffic on closed routes during PT hours and drivers failing to yield to runners on roads not closed. The group cited a lack of signs indicating routes and hours as the main cause of confusion. Recommendations included additional sandwich board signs and orange barriers during road closures.
Hodge agreed with the group's recommendations and said he felt certain the issue could be resolved rather quickly. Morrow agreed. Another issue the group discussed was the inefficient operation of the identification card section. Each of the focus groups used comical skits to illustrate the issues that were well received by the community members on hand for the informative meeting. Morrow thanked the group for their hard work and assured them the problems would be addressed.
"We owe you hard work on each one of these issues," Morrow said. "Thank you so much for the effort you put into this process."
Hodge thanked the individuals who volunteered to participant in the AFAP conference and reminded everyone that issues can be submitted at any time during the year. He elaborated on his vision for the Fort Lee community.
"I want people's first thoughts when they hear Fort Lee 'that's a great place to live and work,'" he said. "I don't want people to say 'Fort Lee, I love that place, but I've got a real problem with parking and I can never get into work on time,' or 'I love that place but when I tried to get my ID card it took me three attempts,' or 'I love that place, but ...'"
Hodge said the leadership at Fort Lee will work hard to eliminate the problems presented to ensure people say it's a great place to live and there is nothing that happens afterward.
He said it wouldn't be easy to eliminate some of the problems, like the parking issues at ALU. However, Morrow suggested that by making the traffic through the campus one-way would produce an additional 120 spaces.
All AFAP Issues are placed into three categories, active, complete and unattainable, said Nancy Burns, AFAP manager.
"Issues requiring higher authority than Fort Lee are sent to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command AFAP conference. A garrison commander's steering committee meets biannually to discuss the status of all active AFAP issues. After an issue has been thoroughly reviewed by the committee the status of an issue may change to complete or unattainable."