Baumholder town hall reviews housing survey, talks upcoming growth

Story and photo by Jason Tudor
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs

Baumholder Military Community housing residents gathered in-person and online July 13 for a town hall to discuss current issues and a recent survey.

Deputy Garrison Manager Jae Kim led the event, which gathered about 40 families inside the Wagon Wheel Theater at Baumholder. About 50 others viewed the live event via social media. U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Commander Col. Vance J. Klosinski opened the event and thanked the participants for coming out on a Tuesday evening for one of the first in-person events of this kind since the pandemic started in 2020.

“Your participation is important. Feedback is critical to us. It’s our ability to understand how we’re doing and our ability to communicate back with you in terms of answering your needs and concerns,” Klosinski said. He also outlined several ways to provide feedback outside the town hall, including an Open Door policy and the online Interactive Customer Evaluation system.

Jae Kim, Deputy Garrison Manager for the Baumholder Military Community, talks with live and virtual audience members during a housing town hall meeting July 13.

Kim reviewed the 2020 Housing Tenant Satisfaction Survey, noting the 65.8% satisfaction rate, a 2% improvement from the previous survey. Service satisfaction saw a slight decline (under 1%) to 66.5%, but Kim said he and the staff want to bolster that number.

“We’re going to work on that. We don’t want to see any numbers go down,” he said. “We’re in the middle of the road compared to other European garrisons. We want to do better.”

Key to his presentation included outlining $425 million in investments scheduled until 2030, including new housing, elementary school, further renovations, and relocated and refurbished dog park. Kim also highlighted current challenges and the way ahead. Areas of concern included roads, parking areas, visitor parking, sidewalks, landscaping, and more.

Security, environmental concerns, and persistent issues with water were top concerns kicking of the question-and-answer period. Garrison Command Sgt. Major Stephen J. LaRocque and officials from the Baumholder housing team, Directorate of Public Works, and other subject-matter experts provided immediate answers. They also met with residents one-on-one, following the town hall.

Those online were also encouraged to comment or ask questions. The online question topics included installing fences, playground maintenance, child care, and more. Those questions were read live and answered.

“Thanks for doing this! I appreciate the communication,” said Facebook viewer Lauren Kollman. “I think people appreciate the transparency.”

Following the question-and-answer period, Kim closed the event and emphasized the concern he, and everyone working in the Baumholder Military Community, shared to support housing residents have for families living there.

“As you can see by the turnout of our leaders and subject-matter experts, we are here to try and take the best care of you as our family and friends,” Kim said. “People are first in what we’re trying to do as the garrison staff.”