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Downtown Kaiserslautern housing area set to close in ‘09

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A housing area for U.S. troops — including high-ranking officers — in downtown Kaiserslautern is scheduled to be closed in two years.

Only eight of the 80 houses on Fliegerstrasse and Am Blutacker are occupied, with the majority empty for a year. The housing area is within walking distance from downtown Kaiserslautern’s pedestrian area.

The saturation of the housing market and little demand to move into residences built in the 1950s have been cited as reasons why the housing area is nearly vacant.

The buildings appear in need of some work, but the grounds around them look well kept.

A 2003 housing study found the Fliegerstrasse/Blutacker housing area was surplus, said Cathy Harris, deputy commander of 835th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Jacqueline Boone is a member of one of three families living on Blutacker. When she arrived in 2005, the neighborhood was full of families and children, she said.

“It’s a wonderful place to live,” said Boone, whose husband is an Army officer. “The location is perfect. It’s so closely located to downtown.”

She said she would be sad to see the housing area closed.

When it closes in September 2009, the area will be turned over to the Germans. Kaiserslautern has an interest in the centrally located housing area but has no ideas or plans for the buildings, according to German media reports.

The homes were built for U.S. officers starting in 1952 with construction continuing through 1957, according to Kaiserslautern archives. The Germans said the area was made to resemble the American Southwest, and the homes were considered exceptionally modern by German standards at the time, according to archives.

Closing the housing area will save money: In fiscal year 2006, more than $311,000 was spent on it.


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