Army spends millions on local stimulus projects

| March 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Loran Doane
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

Funds further the garrison’s environmental, quality-of-life, sustainability goals

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Army in Hawaii has wasted little time in putting federal stimulus money to work, with millions being poured into new construction projects, as well as facility and infrastructure improvements, at Army installations across the state.

Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District, has contracted 26 projects through the Department of Defense’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with funded projects underway here and at Fort Shafter, Wheeler Army Airfield and Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island.

Department of Defense American Recovery and Reinvestment funded projects, like this barracks construction on Schofield Barracks, can be seen throughout U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii installations. ARRA projects help to stimulate local economies.The projects, which total $46.5 million, range from repairing roofs, installing energy-saving photovoltaic panels, maintaining bridges, installing emergency generators and renovating buildings — all in support of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii and Army Hawaii Soldiers and families.

“We are moving quickly to get this money into the hands of the people who will create jobs while simultaneously working to ensure the best use of these Recovery Act funds,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Yenter, commanding general and division engineer, USACE Pacific Ocean Division.

The money became available when President Barack Obama signed the ARRA into law in 2009.

The act’s primary purpose is to quickly, efficiently and responsibly put money back into local communities in a bid to jump-start the national economy.

“We are committed to improving the quality of life for our Soldiers and their families,” said Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, USAG-HI. “More than $7 million alone will go into improving living quarters, renovations to the YMCA community center, education centers, and to the libraries and child development centers on both Schofield and Fort Shafter.

“Sometimes it is difficult to measure the direct impact that a military installation has on the surrounding communities, but the ARRA funds are very easy to track,” Margotta added. “All of the money is going directly to local workers, and nearly all are considered small, disadvantaged businesses.”

USAG-HI is also committing funds to projects designed to further its environmental and sustainability goals and initiatives.

Building and maintaining sustainable installations continue to be challenging tasks for the Army today, according to Margotta.

“We are using ARRA stimulus funds as we continue to modernize and embrace advancing green technologies,” explained David Lee, manager, Construction Management, Directorate of Public Works, USAG-HI.

“We are currently in the process of installing high-efficiency, low-energy consumption air conditioning systems in our facilities, as well as taking advantage of solar air and water heating units,” he said.

USAG-HI’s goal to be one of the largest solar-powered communities in the United States by 2015, with the ultimate goal of providing energy back into the power grid.

Category: Community, Sustainability

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