Actus eases residents' concerns
By Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski
| | May 28, 2004
MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
As spring slowly turns into the carefree months of summer, many Depot housing residents were dreading the thought of having to deal with the impending hassle and confusion of having to move again - not to a new duty station, but just down the road.
Tri-Command Military Housing representatives were on hand to dispel any rumors and answer questions the residents of Wake Village had about the upcoming "big transition," during a dinner at the Four Winds Club May 17.
Several members from TCMH and Actus Lend Lease, who are responsible for the development of the new communities, invited the Wake Village residents to dinner as a way to personally address any problems or issues that would be associated with moving into a new home while serving aboard Parris Island.
"The purpose of this meeting is to put all of our residents' minds at ease," said John Perry, the asset manager for TCMH and vice president of Actus Lend Lease. "The people attending this meeting, most of them currently living in the old brown homes, are the ones who will be moving during the June or July time frame. We want to let them know everything that we know so they can plan ahead ... get leave and that sort of thing."
According to Perry, the building of the new homes and the relocation of residents will go in phases. The order of residents moved will be determined by the houses that are next on the list to be demolished; right now, the target area is the homes closest to the construction. These service members will be among the first to move into the new facilities that were designed and built with military men and women in mind.
"We had several surveys and focus groups to find out what today's military families want and need in their homes," said Justin Woodcock, development manager with TCMH.
"Military families are unique in terms of their needs, wants and desires, which affects what they would choose as far as housing goes. They move often, so storage is one of the key issues they were concerned with, and it was one of the factors we considered while developing these new homes for them."
During his presentation, Woodcock also touched briefly on the Marsh Landing community, where 54 new homes will be built. He explained that construction and relocation among that community will be slowing down because of the need to carefully demolish each home without disrupting the new ones and then rebuilding on the site.
After his presentation, the floor was opened for questions and there were several. All of the residents who raised their hands had unique questions concerning their own situation. Many of them were concerned with how much the move would cost, or who would help with the move if their spouses were on the drill field and unable to take enough time away to assist their families with the move.
Others asked if they had to move at all, stating that it did not make sense to pack up and move, then two or three months later have to do it all over again due to Permanent Change of Station orders. In a situation such as that, Woodcock stated that although it may be inconvenient, it is still necessary to move in order for more homes to be built in their old home's place, allowing other anxious Marines and sailors to get settled into new houses.
"I'm ready for it," said Staff Sgt. Derrick White, a Wake Village resident. "It's not that what we're living in now is that bad, but it's just time. It's time for a change."
White, along with many other Depot residents, seemed optimistic about moving and looked past the dread of the actual relocation and toward the excitement of the end results.
"Sure it's going to be hard, but you have to have the right frame of mind," he said. "You have to work with them on this. They're paying for all your things to be moved, and they're trying their best to get word to us about these things as quickly as they can. You just can't be afraid to put some of your own work into it."
As the meeting came to a close, attendees left with smiles on their faces. Residents felt better about the situation, and the TCMH members were satisfied knowing they had helped people gain a better understanding of what lies ahead in the coming months.
"This whole project is great because, for me, I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing progress and development ... seeing quality communities come together," said Woodcock. "But, this adds another dimension in terms of satisfaction because you can see significant improvements in the quality of life for our service members and their families. It makes you feel like you're doing something, not just for business purposes or for an individual, but you are doing things for the nation. It's a good thing."