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Kelley Barracks Town Hall Meeting Shares Plans, Hears Residents' Concerns
The U.S. Africa Command Chief of Staff, Major General H.D. Polumbo, and senior members of the Stuttgart military community held a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, at the Kelley Theatre on Kelley Barracks to share future plans for base
STUTTGART, Germany - Major General H.D. Polumbo, U.S. Africa Command chief of staff, discusses his inspiration to beautify the land that makes up Kelley Barracks to resemble Germany and improve the quality of life for Kelley Barracks residents and AFRICOM personnel and family members during a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, on Kelley Barracks. The event served to update the community on future plans for base improvements and as a venue for senior leaders to hear concerns from community members who live or work on Kelley Barracks. (Photo by Martin Greeson)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: STUTTGART, Germany - Major General H.D. Polumbo, U.S. Africa Command chief of staff, discusses his inspiration to beautify the land that makes up Kelley Barracks to resemble Germany and improve the quality of life for Kelley Barracks residents and AFRICOM personnel and family members during a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, on Kelley Barracks. The event served to update the community on future plans for base improvements and as a venue for senior leaders to hear concerns from community members who live or work on Kelley Barracks. (Photo by Martin Greeson) Download full-resolution version
STUTTGART, Germany - Heidelberg School Superintendant Frank Roehl addresses questions about overcrowding, security and children's behavior on buses with AFRICOM personnel and family members during a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, on Kelley Barracks. The event served to update the community on future plans for base improvements and as a venue for senior leaders to hear concerns from community members who live or work on Kelley Barracks. (Photo by Martin Greeson)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: STUTTGART, Germany - Heidelberg School Superintendant Frank Roehl addresses questions about overcrowding, security and children's behavior on buses with AFRICOM personnel and family members during a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, on Kelley Barracks. The event served to update the community on future plans for base improvements and as a venue for senior leaders to hear concerns from community members who live or work on Kelley Barracks. (Photo by Martin Greeson) Download full-resolution version
STUTTGART, Germany - Major General H.D. Polumbo, U.S. Africa Command chief of staff, discusses his inspiration to beautify the land that makes up Kelley Barracks to resemble Germany and improve the quality of life for Kelley Barracks residents and AFRICOM personnel and family members during a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, on Kelley Barracks. The event served to update the community on future plans for base improvements and as a venue for senior leaders to hear concerns from community members who live or work on Kelley Barracks. (Photo by Martin Greeson)
STUTTGART, Germany - Heidelberg School Superintendant Frank Roehl addresses questions about overcrowding, security and children's behavior on buses with AFRICOM personnel and family members during a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, on Kelley Barracks. The event served to update the community on future plans for base improvements and as a venue for senior leaders to hear concerns from community members who live or work on Kelley Barracks. (Photo by Martin Greeson)
The U.S. Africa Command Chief of Staff, Major General H.D. Polumbo, and senior members of the Stuttgart military community held a town hall meeting August 31, 2011, at the Kelley Theatre on Kelley Barracks to share future plans for base improvements and to hear concerns from community members who live or work on the installation. AFRICOM and garrison leadership responded to community members' concerns and topics of interest, including plans for changes to the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS) curriculum, school bus logistics, safety and kids' entertainment options. Also addressed were improved parking and neighborhood beautification. The entire DODDS system has undergone an overhaul to improve the quality of its educational program. "All of our teachers walk through the doors of our schools every day and live by the motto that says 'The service members and those that support them make countless sacrifices every day, but the education of their children shouldn't be one of them,'" said Marilee Fitzgerald, acting director of the Department of Defense Education Activity. Fitzgerald spoke about 21st century education initiatives for DoDDS students, including new technology in the classrooms such as wireless internet and Apple iPads, so students aren't using text books that "are outdated almost as soon as they are printed," and a new math curriculum that will start students on the abstract principles of math at a much younger age. Fitzgerald also spoke about nurturing student's love of math and science and encouraging the community to get involved in helping keep students interested in those subjects. "We need the community's help. If you are involved in the engineering field, one day we want you to come in and help build a robot with the students, so you can show them the practical application of math." She also mentioned a need to improve school attendance, when she said last year the DoDDS school system average 65 percent attendance. Residents asked about a shortage of seats on the school buses and controlling student behavior on those buses. Some of the behavioral complaints involved bullying, cursing and being loud enough to cause distractions to the bus drivers. Residents wanted to know why the force protection officer (FPO), who rides the bus couldn't record misbehavior and enforce discipline while riding the bus. Heidelberg School Superintendant Frank Roehl addressed the concerns of overcrowding on buses by saying they are maintaining counts and if he sees a shortage of seats on buses he will add more buses to the routes. He also explained that DoDDS rules forbid the FPO from doing anything aside from performing his or her force protection duty. He also explained that German police routinely follow the buses in both marked and unmarked cars as an added security measure. Children's activities were also a hot topic addressed. One resident asked why there was such a long time between when some playground equipment was removed and when the new equipment was installed. Army Garrison Stuttgart Director of Public Works Carl Pritchard explained that they had received a formal complaint from a community member about safety concerns with the old equipment, so the decision was made to remove the equipment ahead of schedule to alleviate concerns. Residents also voiced concerns about "tweens," children from approximately ages 10 to 15, who have limited recreation options. "I approached them and asked why they felt the need to hang out at the playgrounds and break the see-saw or climb on the outside of the slides," said resident Nancy Davis. "They told me that there isn't any place for them to go and hang out and just be with their friends, because they can't play basketball at the gym, because they are under 16; they can't even hang out on the bleachers near the field or the dug outs at the softball field," which has been dismantled due to renovations. Davis went on to say young people she's spoken with aren't looking for programs or events, they just want to have a place to hang out, because there isn't any place for them on Kelley. Senior leadership said they are working on locations for the "tweens" to spend their time and programs to keep them entertained. Future Improvements on Kelley Barracks Public works is in the process of upgrading the back pedestrian gate electronics from copper wire to fiber optic cable to fix the problem with the gate's intermittent failure to pedestrian traffic. The work is part of a more comprehensive upgrade of back-gate security facilities. Officials also discussed upgrading the car wash on Kelley Barracks. But to install the type of automatic car wash like the one on Patch Barracks would require losing parking spaces, which are in short supply on Kelley. So instead, community officials are planning to upgrade the current car wash bays with new equipment. Duplicating services is also a financial concern. "Every time I duplicate services, my fixed costs are raised," said U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Commander Colonel Carl Bird. "So I have to ask myself, am I doing the right thing for the command? It's a constant cost/benefit analysis." Kelley Barracks parking situation continues to improve as well. Before the recent initiative to increase parking, the installation had 1,072 parking spaces. That number has risen to 1,219, with an end goal of 1,458 spaces. A car pool program was also initiated, with designated spaces for registered car pools. And Polumbo added that if the program proves to be popular, it could be expanded. "I'd like to beautify Kelley Barracks," said Polumbo. "Why? Because my wife Sandra and I love living in Germany and taking trips to forests and streams in the area, and we would like to improve the land that makes up Kelley Barracks." As part of that plan, playgrounds are scheduled to be completed by the end of October. Some security barriers are possibly going to be relocated to accommodate new sidewalks, which will make walking to the shoppette and Kelley Club easier. The main gate security area also is scheduled for renovation. Polumbo said he plans to schedule Kelley Barracks community town hall meetings as often as necessary and reiterated that the installation is a community of people that care about each other. He also suggested that community members continue to use the ICE (Interactive Customer Evaluation) formal comment system to make their desires known.
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