Enjoy reading and learning at the same time in this article. Concerns raised during the process of building a new embassy compound in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, have given rise to the introduction of a brand new bill. Meanwhile, Nehemiah was an initiative driven by the Industrial Areas Foundation with the assistance of church-based organizers who worked together on the project. East Brooklyn Churches, often known as EBC, collaborated with neighborhood residents to raise loan funds. On the other hand, the exterior grading and landscaping of the transitory training troops barracks project at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, that was funded by the fiscal year 2020 was finished by contractors at the end of August and the beginning of September 2022. On top of that, according to authorities from BART, building on the first phase is scheduled to begin in late 2023 or early 2024, while construction on the second phase will not begin until at least 2026.

Congressional oversight of embassy projects is increased

Original Source: Lawmaker Looks to Increase Congressional Oversight of Embassy Projects

A House Democrat will file legislation Friday to improve Congress’ oversight of embassy construction projects. The congressman previously voiced concerns about the cost of building a new embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., will introduce the Embassy Construction Accountability Act. According to a fact sheet, Lynch and his subcommittee discovered “the [new embassy compound in Ashgabat] has suffered from years of construction problems, severe gaps in administrative control, and wasted spending.” The State Department issued the first contract in September 2014.

Lynch stated that delays in U.S. embassy construction projects undermine the functioning of our foreign missions, risk the safety of diplomatic, consular, and other U.S. personnel stationed overseas, and often cost U.S. taxpayer dollars.

He said his proposed bill will increase Congress’ oversight of projects by allowing “Congress to more quickly identify serious lapses during embassy construction and promptly work with the State Department to ensure these critical projects are completed on-time and on-budget and serve the interests of U.S. national security and the American taxpayer.”

The new embassy compound will replace the congested and probably unsafe diplomatic buildings in Ashgabat, according to an information sheet. It won’t be finished until 2026 and will cost at least $327.5 million, $131 million more than estimated, according to the panel.

In July 2016, Turkmenistan asked the State Department and Caddell to stop construction on the new embassy property because the chancery was not built according to local rules. The subcommittee and a 2020 inspector general report highlight problems and allegations.

The State Department and Caddell signed an agreement in June 2022 based on a “model of shared responsibility.” This agreement settled both sides’ disputes over the misplaced [new office building] and delays. The agency issued a second contract amendment that boosted project costs by $4.8 million.

State Department officials said they don’t comment on pending legislation.

The agency supports coordination and collaboration with Congress, the official said. We maximize the dynamic job of creating and maintaining the U.S. diplomatic platform around the world despite physical, financial, security, and bilateral political challenges.

Caddell didn’t reply.

According to Freedom House, a charity that promotes democracy, human rights, and political freedom, Turkmenistan’s economy is state-dominated, corruption is systematic, religious groups are repressed, and political dissent is not permitted.

The State Department and Caddell “failed to follow local regulations,” stated a subcommittee spokesperson.

The spokesperson said the House Oversight and Reform Committee “has a long record of overseeing embassy construction projects, including in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and the “U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat is not the first State Department construction project to experience delays and cost overruns, but the factors that contribute to such mishaps vary by embassy and they have their utmost care.”

Nehemiah: First-time homebuyers’ American Dream

Original Source: Nehemiah: Making the American Dream possible for first-time homeowners

The Rev. David Brawley of St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East Brooklyn, N.Y., says this neighborhood was once the murder capital of New York. Many of his parishioners now live there. Consider that. Inhabit? Even drivers avoided the area. that bad

The Rev. Brawley says imagination transformed the neighborhood. “Think new,” he said. “You had empty lots, abandoned land, and we imagined something else.”

He’s discussing a 40-year-old business. In the 1980s, community activists hatched a proposal to build privately-owned homes at working-class prices. They made unwanted land desirable. Nehemiah project Nehemiah, an Old Testament prophet, repaired Jerusalem’s walls.

The project goal was equity. “It’s the American dream,” Brawley told Koppel. When communities and families have equity, life alters intergenerationally.

African American and Latino families in East Brooklyn, as in many regions of the country, suffered difficulties getting affordable financing or buying property.

Sarah Plowden, a community historian, is revered at St. Paul’s Church as the Queen Mother. She’s been associated with the Nehemiah project since she was a church secretary and lived in the projects.

“I felt hopeless,” she said. “These kids can’t imagine.”

Koppel asked, “Remind them.”

“Forget it!”

“I know, but for now, remember.”

I don’t want roaches, rats, or mice on anyone.

Kirk Goodrich grew up in East Brooklyn and became an affordable housing developer, transforming the area. “You travel through these communities to get somewhere else, not to stay.”

“It’s garbage,” he told Koppel.

What does “landfill” mean?

He laughed, “A dump.” People dumped dead pets and bodies here; I didn’t see any.

Under the debris and trash was an opportunity.

These church-based organizers cooperated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, which drove the Nehemiah initiative. EBC, or East Brooklyn Churches, partnered with locals to raise loan money. They pressured local officials with community support.

Ed Koch was NYC’s mayor then. In a PBS program, “Groundbreaking,” he said, “They’d bring in 500 people to applaud or boo you to control you.”

It worked. Koch sold 16 NYC blocks for $1 each. The city subsidized.

Sure, if he’s a Democrat. Rudy Giuliani, then-mayor of New York, promised in 1995, “We’ll make sure Spring Creek has the funds to start on time and not be halted.”

East Brooklyn churches collected millions to defray costs.

Initial interest was low. Matilda Dyer, a Dominican immigrant, stated, “When I saw the area, I wasn’t excited.” Nurse: Clinton, her welding spouse. They were resilient. Dyer: “It was abandoned.” “A prosperous neighborhood seemed impossible.”

East Brooklyn churches’ involvement swayed Dyer. She knew EBC was a church, but not much else. “In churches, God is central.”

Koppel: “You describe an act of faith.”

After I stepped out, three or four of my buddies bought properties there.

Nehemiah’s initial home cost $40,000 40 years ago. The Dyers’ mortgage payments were less than their rent.

Soon, residents had to enter lotteries to own Nehemiah homes.

Sandra, Armando Martinez. El Salvadoran refugee. Both were teachers, working two jobs to raise their two college-bound children.

Sandra recalled: “In 2002, we went to church on a Sunday, and the priest told us there would be a coupon for inexpensive housing in the newspaper.”

Koppel asked, “So you wait?”

Armando waited.

When did they call?

Sandra: “Five years later.”

“They draw, you move in?”

Sandra said, “No.” We got the number, so we’ll have a house someday.

Sarah Plowden, a church worker, finally bought a home in the early 1990s. “I’m living proof that a desire can become a reality. It took work, but it was worth it.”

Her $120,000 home is now worth $500,000.

Koppel asked, “So you leave an inheritance to your children when you die?”

I won’t leave them a paid-for house. I’ll enjoy my money and home! ” She laughed.

Sent! Ms. Plowden’s three sons own land.

First-time black and Latino homeowners have gained $1.5 billion from Nehemiah houses.

Kirk Goodrich remarked, “This is the most consequential, essential community development endeavor in our country because one group has never ceased.”

Nehemiah initiatives are underway across the country. 6,500 homes have been created.

“Homes are the basis.” 

The Rev. Brawley stated that “individuals who are city workers who now own a home; people who have come out of public housing; teachers; police officers; and fire department workers who now own their own homes,” stated The Rev. Brawley.

The tougher the effort, the better the achievement. The Martinez family’s house took seven years. Sandra: “This is our palace, and we thank God every day.” “Other families should have the same opportunity.”

“You can’t be what you can’t see.” “For us, Nehemiah for us is feasible,” stated Brawley.

Koppel said Amen.


Fort McCoy’s FY2020 barracks landscaping is complete

Original Source: Contractor completes exterior landscaping work for Fort McCoy’s fiscal year-2020-funded barracks project

In late August and early September 2022, contractors completed exterior grading and landscaping for the fiscal year 2020-funded transitory training troops barracks project at Fort McCoy, Wis.

U.S. Sen. Ken Green said Sept. Construction of a second four-story barracks at Fort McCoy is 97% complete and on schedule.

Green noted that now that the exterior grading is complete, grass seeding is part of the project.

Work on interior systems, cleaning, and furniture installation is proceeding, Green added. Landscape work took days to reach its final grade.

L.S. was awarded the $18.8 million project. Green stated that Black Constructors erected Fort McCoy’s initial barracks.

The notice to continue was issued on Oct. 28, 2020. The contract was awarded on Sept. 29, 2020. The contract ends after 780 days, or December 2022.

This barracks is different from the WWII-era barracks on the base. Four floors and 60,000 square feet may house 400 individuals in this building.

The project is part of Fort McCoy’s Master Plan to upgrade its infrastructure for the future, said Fort McCoy Master Planner Brian Harrie of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works. The concept calls for four identical barracks, three 20,000-square-foot brigade headquarters, and one 160-room officer quarters.

Harrie added that the 1600 block will be transformed when construction is finished. “The 1600 block is an ideal location for this transition because it’s near the post’s service-related buildings, such as the commissary, exchange, and McCoy’s Community Center.”

Big construction projects like this barracks project help Fort McCoy’s economy. Fort McCoy’s economic effect for FY 2021 is $1.93 billion, up from $1.479 billion in FY 2020, authorities said. The data was produced by Fort McCoy’s Plan, Analysis, and Integration Office.

Fort McCoy’s fiscal year 2021 operational costs of $249.88 million covered utilities, physical plant maintenance, repairs and renovations, new construction projects, purchases of goods and services, and civilian contract employee pay, authorities said.

Fort McCoy, in the upper Midwest, is the sole U.S. Army base in Wisconsin.

Since 1984, the installation has provided field and classroom training for more than 100,000 military personnel from all services almost every year.

BART approves first phase of Lake Merritt housing, office project

Original Source: BART Approves First Phase of Housing, Office Development Project at Lake Merritt Station

BART’s Board of Directors approved building over 500 affordable and market-rate housing units surrounding Lake Merritt station over the next decade.

In addition to the station’s parking lot, the development will include two housing complexes and a plaza.

In one of the buildings, 10 percent of the monthly rent will be set at 120 percent of Alameda County’s typical family income in 2022, or $142,800. Housing and Urban Development

A 97-unit senior housing development will have rent regulated at 100% of the county’s AMI.

The housing complexes are the first of two phases to build Lake Merritt. The second phase will feature a 100-unit apartment complex and a 500,000-square-foot office building.

BART officials estimate the first phase to begin in late 2023 or early 2024 and the second in 2026.

BART officials have explored the proposal since 2014, when Oakland issued the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan, which sketched out prospective mixed-use housing and commercial development alternatives.

All nine BART board members supported the housing development in general, but the board only voted 6-2 in favor with one abstention due to concerns over the second phase and a proposal to extend the agency’s exclusive negotiating agreement with the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, which is co-developing the first phase.

Debora Allen claimed the board lacked adequate information to authorize the three-year extension in good faith, especially about the financial aspects.

“It’s the staff’s job to give us the knowledge we need to make sound decisions about hundreds of millions of dollars in development and destroying assets instead of constructing new ones,” Allen added.

BART officials said the three-year postponement would allow regional employment trends to settle and offer the agency flexibility to seek office tenants for the project’s second phase.

BART said the extension includes two one-year options.

BART plans to move the BART Police Department headquarters from Lake Merritt to Bay Fair, Castro Valley, El Cerrito Del Norte, or North Concord/Martinez.

BART officials said a new police headquarters could be built in any station’s parking lot.

Director John McPartland stated that transferring the BART Police headquarters out of Oakland would disadvantage the transit agency in a natural disaster or terror strike.

McPartland used the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills inferno as examples.

Director Robert Raburn, who covers much of Oakland including Lake Merritt station, termed the vote “a watershed day” after eight years of planning. He said that the affordable housing units will prevent Chinatown residents from being relocated.

“I’m really pleased with this transformative accomplishment for Oakland Chinatown,” he remarked.

Summary of today’s construction news

In today’s construction news, in June 2022, the State Department and Caddell negotiated a contract based on a “model of shared responsibility,” ending their disagreement over the misplaced [new office building] and delays. With the second contract revision issued by the government, the price tag for the project jumped by $4.8 million.

In addition, in the Prophecy of Nehemiah in the Old Testament, the prophet Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. The objective of the project was to promote equality. For Brawley, “it’s the American dream,” he remarked to Koppel. When there is fairness in a community and within families, it has a ripple effect that lasts for generations.

Furthermore, L.S. was given a contract of $18.8 million. According to Green, the first barracks at Fort McCoy were built by Black Constructors. The WWII-era barracks on the site cannot be compared to this newer one. This structure has a total of 60,000 square feet across its four stories, which means it could house as many as 400 people. Fort McCoy’s economy benefits from large-scale construction projects like the barracks currently under construction.

Moreover, Director Robert Raburn, whose jurisdiction extends over much of Oakland and includes Lake Merritt station, called the vote “a watershed day” after eight years of preparation. He claims that the low-cost apartments will save people from having to leave Chinatown.