Garrison, city leaders share updates, tout cooperation

Garrison leaders and officials from Wiesbaden and the surrounding communities came together Sept. 19 to share community updates and get answers about planned garrison construction.
This year’s Executive Exchange Council was hosted by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center. Every other year, it is hosted by the city.

“One of the greatest things we want to do here is strengthen our relationships and make sure we remain transparent in everything we do,” said Garrison Commander Col. Todd J. Fish.
Judith Rodriguez, division chief engineering, Directorate of Public Works for the garrison, filled city leaders in on recently completed projects as well as planned improvements.

She touted the newly opened 21st century high school, built on budget and on time, and new middle and elementary schools that are in the works on Hainerberg using off-post construction. What this means is that a pathway has been created to allow construction vehicles to access the site without going through the access control point and without having access to the rest of the garrison. Also, a new elementary school is planned for Clay Kaserne, to replace Aukamm Elementary, in about five years.

She then outlined the future vision for the Crestview housing community, which includes plans to turn some buildings over to the host nation and demolish others, using that space to create more parking, green space and a dog park.

Rodriguez went on to detail completed changes to the access control point on Hainerberg, which the city of Wiesbaden helped facilitate by completely reconstructing the B455 intersection, and three projects on Clay: the Combined Information Center, currently under construction; a paved path along Lindsay Boulevard that would accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and physical training for Soldiers; and solar panels on the rooftop of a parking structure on Clay, which will produce enough power to support more than 100 households.

Clay Kaserne North, which is currently accessible only through its own gate, will be connected to Clay with a new interior road around the west end of the runway.

Other projects on Clay North include moving several services to the area, including the administrative building for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Europe District; vehicle registration and inspection; and the installation property book office beginning around November.

“We will be investing $1.2 billion worth of construction on all of the projects within our garrison and communities over the next five years,” Fish said. “This will allow us to return Amelia Earhart, Mainz Kastel Housing and Mainz Kastel Station over the next five years.”

Roland Petrak, with the city of Wiesbaden parliament’s Environmental office, told attendees about an award the city gives to support achievements in environmental protection and sustainability. Everyone is invited to participate for a prize of 3,000 euros, he said. The garrison participated in 2012 for a Fitness Center project that saved electricity with Earth-friendly lighting.

The garrison’s school liaison officer, Peter Witmer, shared some of the joint activities that American and German students have participated in over the past year. Wiesbaden students won a Leonardo Project award, German students attended garrison schools for a week and students from both countries participated in mousetrap racecar competition, something they will be repeating this year.

“We are happy to continue these partnerships as much and as often as we can,” he said.

Ray Stuhn, the garrison’s deputy director of emergency services, highlighted the many partnerships between the military police and the Polizei. Events such as the German-American Friendship Fest and joint exercises show the two police forces work together well.

“With each exercise, our coordination gets better,” he said.

At the end, Fish thanked the city leaders for their support of the garrison. “I thank you for all your support and understanding with all the construction that has happened over the last nine years, and I ask for your patience as it continues over the next four years.”