By Amy Guckeen Tolson, USAG RedstoneMay 19, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--Redstone Communities has 352 ways every day to serve the Soldier.
"We do everything we can to make them comfortable and to make them happy," Brenda Haynes, community director, said. "We want them to enjoy living here. It's their housing and we hope we're making an improvement upon their condition of living. Our needs are that we take care of our Soldiers and give them the best lifestyle possible."
Approximately 1,062 people live in the 352 homes available through the Redstone Communities military housing on post managed by Pinnacle, which oversees the privatized housing for Hunt Development Group. Within the 352 homes, more than 30 floor plans are available starting with two bedroom townhomes with two and a half baths, going all the way up to five bedroom homes with three baths. Square footage ranges from 998 square feet all the way up to 2,266. Availability of floor plans depends upon rank; rent is determined by basic allowance for housing. Home amenities include carpet and ceramic floors, privacy fences, energy efficient appliances, garages and carports, central heat and air, blinds, trash and recycling pickup, ceiling fans and lawn care. Pets are welcome.
The amenities don't stop when residents step out their front door. Playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball courts, and walking trails are all nearby, in addition to the added perks of having the Commissary, Exchange, Burger King, Post Office, Shoppette, Bicentennial Chapel and more right up the road. With FMWR offerings like the Firehouse Pub, Java CafAfA, bowling center, golf course, gyms, pools, bingo and Outdoor Recreation, residents have little reason to travel off post if they don't want to. If they do however decide to venture outside the gates, there's plenty nearby to keep them occupied, like the Huntsville Botanical Garden, U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Bridge Street, all within about a five mile or less drive.
"The convenience of it is fabulous," Haynes said. "We're located in a nice vicinity of all the family activities. The commissary, the pools, the gyms - we're right in the middle of it."
Eight neighborhoods comprise the housing area near Goss Road - Voyager, Freedom Landing, Columbia Center, Challenger Heights, Endeavor Village, Saturn Pointe, Pathfind Pointe and New Endeavor - lending to the homey feel of military housing, where people don't just know your name and your family, but also know what you're going through.
"Most of them have a common employer, which is the Army," Haynes said. "They have that common bond and it just makes it more of a community."
"It's the security, the camaraderie of living with those that you work with and deal with on a daily basis, and go through the same things that you do," Ray Zapata, chief of the housing division in Directorate of Public Works, said of the neighborhood appeal.
Military housing on the Arsenal is comparable to housing both off post, and on other installations. While the homes aren't brand new, like at other installations, what they lack for in newness, they make up for in their aesthetic diversity and yard space. Currently, the housing area comprises 311 acres which the 352 homes are situated on - at Fort Lee, Va., about 1,500 homes are on the same amount of land, Haynes said.
"Each installation has its own ambiance," Zapata said. "When I came here as a Marine, I'd had a certain perspective of Army housing, but the thing that struck me here as I looked through the neighborhood was how inviting this place was - as you drove through you saw the yards, the space between the homes, and quite frankly the homes. It felt homey and it almost felt like you weren't aboard an Army installation. Folks come in here and their initial impression is this is home. This is family. It's very inviting."
Part of that family atmosphere comes from the outreach Haynes and her staff at Redstone Communities do to make post housing not just a mailing address and a place to sleep, but a place to live, relax and play. Redstone Communities hosts regular Community Information meetings - the next is June 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. - in addition to other fun activities to bring the community together, like celebrating Resident Appreciation Week every year, inviting residents in for luncheons and cookouts, and dropping off the occasional bags of candy on doorsteps on holidays like Valentine's Day. Ever cognizant of the fact that living on post is an option, not a requirement, Redstone Communities does all they can to serve their residents.
"It's a choice," Haynes said. "They don't have to live here. It's their choice. Our first and foremost responsibility is to our Soldiers and their families."
For more information about housing available on post, visit www.redstonecommunities.com.