By KENTUCK TODAY REPORT
Two Kentucky Army posts — Fort Campbell and Fort Knox — are among six Army posts that will be allocated millions of dollars in private-sector funding soon to construct new homes and improve the quality of existing houses.
Negotiated between the U.S. Army and Lendlease and announced Jan. 27, the agreement involves $1.1 billion in capital investment from various public financial institutions.
Lendlease officials said they plan to use the additional monies to renovate more than 12,000 existing homes while also constructing more than 1,200 new houses at the six installations. It’s part of efforts to improve military housing after reports in 2018 revealed military families were contending with dangerous living conditions in privately managed military homes, including mold, lead paint, faulty electrical wiring and pest problems.
“Lendlease is proud to be a trusted partner of the Army and the U.S. Department of Defense. We stand committed, alongside our Army partners, to continue improving the quality of life for service members and their families now and into the future,” said Denis Hickey, CEO, Lendlease Americas, in a news release. “Thanks to privatization and our innovative approach to financing, we’re able to expedite our improvement plans, allocating funds to projects based on those with the greatest needs and priorities, without appropriations from Congress.”
Lendlease is one of seven private housing companies partnered with the Army to construct and maintain quality homes for military and civilian personnel as well as veterans and retirees. Its footprint includes over 26,000 existing homes spanning the nation.
In addition to the two Kentucky Army posts, the company will be improving housing at Fort Drum, New York, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and Schofield Barracks and nearby Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii.
“I’m really excited for our Army and, in particular, Fort Knox,” said Maj. Gen. John Evans Jr., U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox commanding general. “The additional investment in Knox Hills housing is welcome news, and it’s a powerful illustration of words matching deeds as housing partners and leaders all the way up the chain work to enhance the Army Family experience.”
Knox Hills officials were already busy in 2020 renovating several houses at Fort Knox from approved out-funds when news came about the additional funding. Lendlease officials said work with the new funds is expected to start in the spring.
Commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command Gen. Ed Daly said the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff provided guidance toward what he called “an extraordinary milestone — this additional investment will go a long way in improving the quality of homes for Army Soldiers and their Families.”
The funding will lead to 500 new Fort Campbell homes, replacing 400 older homes, as well as more than 400 other renovations.
Last summer, the Army approved LendLease’s plans for Fort Campbell, part of a $87.4 million development plan:
• Construct 144 new homes;
•Renovate 170 homes;
• Demolish more than 250 homes.
The plans are in addition to what’s now being planned with new private-sector funding. Lendlease said it will allow the company to accelerate improvements at Army installations by more than 10 years.