MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn. --
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn.-- The 934th Airlift Wing held a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Sept. 13, 2019 for the opening of a new quarter mile perimeter road and fitness center parking lot.
“This is an amazing project. The initiative that was taken on so many levels to make this actually come through was much greater than we anticipated. It was a bigger challenge, but people rose to it on every occasion. It’s a huge success and they got it complete in a limited window,” said Col. Anthony Polashek, 934th AW commander.
Prior to construction being completed, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station did not have a perimeter road for Security Forces to use for monitoring and patrolling the fence line near the outside frontage road and Highway 62. Instead, Security Forces relied on and used the running track that was 600 feet away from the fence line. This was problematic due to emergency response time would be diminished in the event of a physical fitness test or the distance needed to cover on foot to investigate a fence line situation.
Additionally, the running track is now isolated from vehicle traffic and presents a safer situation for physical fitness. Aside from the safety concern of vehicle interference, Airmen running on the track had to run through a parking lot and down another road to complete one lap. By designing and making the track separate, Airmen now have a safer and more direct route when running, said Master Sgt. Bobi Jo Van Hove, 133rd AW Civil Engineers shop supervisor and assistant project manager.
The 560th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, or REDHORSE, designed and built the perimeter road and parking lot with a joint effort of support from the 555th and 567th REDHORSE, 934th AW and 133rd AW CE.
The project started in early May and the Airmen were met with some setbacks and challenges during the construction process. The excessive rainy weather kept flooding the worksite and pushed the timeline of laying concrete and asphalt back by over a week.
The first day each rotating Airmen started, they were given a brief on what they needed to accomplish during their two week annual tour. When the goals were not attainable due to rain, the objectives were modified to fit the time frame, said Van Hove. Moreover, remaining resilient and keeping a positive attitude was key. This approach also instilled a sense of accomplishment for leaving Airmen.
“We made sure they know what they did impacts the end and it wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Van Hove.
The next phase of this construction project will start in May of 2020. This phase will involve building a new running track. Although the track is now its own separate entity from vehicles using it, the current state of the track has drainage issues that can make the pavement slippery when running. Additionally, the course has manhole covers and some tripping hazards.
“At the end of the two weeks, we have had a lot of people say they wished they could see it at the end, “said Van Hove. “They are already asking to come out next year for the track project because they got a sense of pride in what they were doing here and they can see the big picture.