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Pending congressional approval, the Camp Darby military community will have its first off-base housing area in a few years.

A deal has been struck to construct a 95-unit complex in the Italian community of Fauglia, about 15 miles east of the base, according to Jim Simpson, Installation Management Command-Europe real estate agent for Darby and Vicenza. Cooperative Muratori & Cementisti of Ravenna was awarded the contract.

The community hopes to have the gated complex ready for occupancy in 2009 or 2010. But Congress will have to approve funding for the community first.

“That’s going to be the deciding factor in the timeline for us now,” Simpson said. “It should take about two years to build.”

The gated housing area effectively will replace a similar number of homes in communities around Pisa and Livorno that the government leases for five years at a time, according to Maurizio Braccini, who works in the base’s housing office. It shouldn’t have much of an impact on the more than 200 individual leases that servicemembers or DOD civilians have with individual landlords.

The U.S. will agree to lease the three- or four-bedroom homes in the new subdivision for at least 10 years.

The homes will have amenities such as air conditioning and electrical outlets supplying power with 110 and 220 voltage.

Simpson said CMC was one of three companies to bid for the project, with design, money and location providing some of the criteria.

He declined to say how much money the U.S. would pay for the contract.

The housing complex will be located closer to Florence, allowing high school age students to have a shorter commute to an international school there.

The on-base Livorno High School closes in June.

Simpson said that wasn’t a factor in choosing the site, but “we were fortunate it turned out that way.”

The U.S. signed a similar deal last year with another Italian contractor to build a community of more than 200 homes near Vicenza.

Construction could begin at the end of this year, with the Army hoping to move the first new residents in near the end of 2009.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.

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