By Ignacio Rubalcava (USAG Baumholder)March 15, 2011
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - There was standing room only at the Feb. 23 Baumholder town hall. The forum focused on updating the community about ongoing and future projects as well as changes that will come about in light of the current deployment.
Patricia McCray, town hall coordinator, said she was pleased with the turnout.
"This was the largest turnout we've seen in recent memory," said McCray."
After greeting the audience, Lt. Col. Sam McAdoo, U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder commander, turned the floor over to Brian Smith, Baumholder Army and Air Force Exchange Service manager, who addressed a topic that piqued the interest of many community members.
AAFES will be changing its hours of operation and closing some facilities for renovation during the deployment.
Smith announced that the Shoppette will go from a 24-hour operation to 18 hours a day. Taco Bell will close for remodeling and renovations, which will expand it into the area where Baskin-Robbins was. This expansion will cut back on the lines during the lunch and dinner hours, according to Smith. There is no time line for closure or when it will re-open.
Subway will remain open, and no time changes will be made.
Smith then addressed an issue from a previous town hall meeting which suggested opening a shoppette in upper Wetzel. "We have worked at it and from an AAFES standpoint a shoppette in upper Wetzel would have to at least make $1,000 per day to break even and, according to stats and population, AAFES doesn't think it's possible," said Smith.
McAdoo said, "I've asked them (AAFES) to look at placing an AAFES trailer in Wetzel. They can operate out of that and see what kind of money they actually make. We need to try and prove them wrong."
Chris Macri, director of human resources, announced that the postal service center was going to start notifying customers via email when they have packages to pick up. His announcement met with much approval from the audience.
Since then, preregistration cards have been placed in customers' mail boxes. Mail recipients have the option of providing two email addresses for notifications. AKO is suggested for one of the addresses.
The garrison recently conducted a survey which revealed that 80 percent of the community wanted German-style washers and dryers in their housing quarters. McAdoo said the results of the survey were given to Diane Devins, Installation Management Command-Europe director, who responded by saying that IMCOM would give Baumholder $1.4 million to buy the new washers and dryers.
"You will be getting them in your houses soon if you don't have them already," said McAdoo. "The plus side is that we'll still keep the large washers and dryers downstairs in the basements."
McAdoo then announced that Baumholder is going forward with new town houses in Wetzel starting about June 1. Eleven buildings are being demolished and in their place Baumholder will build town houses similar to the ones in the Kaiserslautern military community.
"These homes are for E-1s to E-6s only, not E-7s and above and not officers," said McAdoo. The project is expected to be completed by 2013.
Past issues addressed at the town hall included the move of the U-Fix-it Store to the DPW compound. The Hill Top Theater will set up shop in its place.
Arts and Crafts will move to the old museum building this spring.
There are new ATMs at the Lagerhoff and in Wetzel across the street from the teen center.
New, lighter, easier-to-handle plastic dumpsters are being placed in the community.
The Community Bank will be doing some renovations this spring and will operate from a trailer. The bank will shut down for three days to move into the temporary trailers. The ATM at the bank will not be available for those three days.
The next town hall is scheduled for May 25 at 4 p.m. at the Rheinlander Community Club. McCray said she expects an equally robust turnout of community members.
"The garrison commander has approved more food and many more door prizes for our next town hall," said McCray. "We gave away four prizes this time, I think we can double that number next time and make a lot of folks happy."
"I believe the free child care and door prizes helped make this town hall a success. Folks were able to make reservations with CYSS, drop their children off 30 minutes prior to the town hall and pick them up by 6 p.m. We expect to offer the same service to parents during our next town hall, in addition to increased prizes and food," said McCray.
A complete listing of topics addressed at the town hall are available on the USAG Baumholder website at www.baumholder.army.mil.