Straight Talk: May 14, 2010

  • Published
  • By Col. Charles F. Thompson
  • 66th Air Base Wing commander
It brings me great sorrow to mention that D.J. Ratcliff, a young member of the Hanscom family, passed away last week after a long struggle with illness. I think the loss of a family member so young is especially painful and the most heart-wrenching thing that can happen. The thoughts and prayers of Team Hanscom are with the Ratcliff family during this difficult time.

On another note, patience seems to be in short supply at times as we rush to get our many responsibilities accomplished on and off the base. I ask everyone to slow down and keep their eyes open as they drive around the detours the road construction is creating around the base. Allow yourself some extra time to get to appointments so you do not need to feel you have to zoom around people, making turns or slowing down on the installation. The unfamiliar traffic patterns increase the likelihood of traffic accidents, and a moment of impatience can cause an even greater loss of time and hard earned money because you have to get your car repaired--no matter whose fault it is.

Security forces will be in place to help reinforce the point around our housing area, after school programs, Youth Center and CDC, but they cannot be everywhere. If you are adjusting your driving habits every time you see a patrol car, think about the cost an accident will have on your time and insurance in the long run.

Comment: When the new Building 1604 was planned, Building 1600 was planned to be demolished and there were going to be parking spaces made available in that freed-up area.

I'm hearing rumors that Building 1600 is not going to be demolished. Besides the numerous issues with this old building, a significant issue for the new building is that there isn't enough parking.

Already, the lot behind Building 1600 is filled, the chapel area is filled (lost several spaces now reserved for chapel visitors), and people are competing for spaces in the Building 1614 lot and the lot for 1606, 1607 and 1612. There are spots near the theater that are usually unfilled.

If Building 1604 opens without more parking spaces, people will likely have to park in the commissary parking lot. I don't think that would be fair. Every building should have a reasonable amount of parking, and that is not even being provided around Building 1600 now with no occupants in the new building.

Response: We understand parking will be tight in the area until Building 1600 can be torn down. We are continuing to push for the Phase II Building 1604 construction project which adds parking in the area after the demolition of Building 1600. At present this phase is not funded but it is ranked high in the priority list for HQ AFMC MILCON projects. Until the second phase is complete, we recognize overflow parking may need to shift toward the BX and Commissary lots. While it is an inconvenience, we could not turn down the opportunity to get Phase I completed and to begin using the building as soon as possible.