Effort to close Hanau posts ahead of schedule
By year’s end, the U.S. Army will return to the German federal government all of its facilities in Gelnhausen and Büdingen, as well as three caserns in the Hanau area, officials said Friday.
Representatives of the Army met with Hanau Lord Mayor Claus Kaminsky on Friday to brief him on closure plans for the rest of the Hanau military community. As part of its ongoing transformation initiative, the U.S. military has or will close several major communities, including Giessen, Darmstadt and Hanau.
“We basically went over to his office to explain what is going to happen in the Hanau footprint,” said Robert Schloesser, who is working transformation issues for the Army in Hanau.
The effort to close Gelnhausen, Büdingen and three Hanau-area facilities is running ahead of schedule, according to Schloesser. The original date had been Sept. 30, but within the past week the locks went on the gates. The next step for each is a joint American-German inspection.
“We’ve hustled,” Schloesser said, noting the quick work has saved the Army money, mainly in terms of its Pond security contract.
The first set of installations that will be returned, keys and all, are Hutier Casern and Cardwell Housing area in Hanau, Fliegerhorst Casern in nearby Erlensee, Coleman Housing area in Gelnhausen, and an assortment of sites in Büdingen, according to Petra Stadtmueller, a master planner for the Army in Hanau. The Büdingen facilities include a heliport, training ground and tank maintenance area.
While Schloesser met with Kaminsky, Stadtmueller was meeting with federal German officials in Frankfurt to arrange joint inspections, the first of which will happen around midmonth. At the top of the list is Hutier Casern.
Much like a home inspection, or walk through, these joint visits generate “to-do” lists. Once the outstanding issues are taken care of, documents are signed and the keys and property revert back to the German government.
“There is always some tactical aspect of any release,” Stadtmueller said.
The city of Hanau wants to acquire Hutier Casern because it needs a new fire department headquarters and disaster response center, said Holger Kreuzer, who works on the mayor’s staff.
Stadtmueller said a closure timeline for the rest of the Hanau military community won’t be finalized until spring.
Currently, there are about 1,000 soldiers assigned to Hanau, which includes a few hundred deployed soldiers.