Future of historic brick homes at Wright-Patt under review

The future of historic brick homes at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will be under review at public hearings this week at Fairborn High School.

The Air Force is exploring 11 options for the 89 Tudor Revival-style homes in the Brick Quarters Historic District, from partial to total demolition, and from renovation to privatization, to building new homes, or a combination of all of those alternatives.

Since the alternatives were presented to the public in September, an option to use the homes as temporary lodging was dropped because residents objected to the idea, said Michael D. Ackerman, an Air Force Civil Engineer Center planning expert at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. Wright-Patterson has existing quarters for temporary lodging.

“The residents of the brick quarters did not want that type of transient housing,” he said Tuesday. “They didn’t want to lose the feel of the residential neighborhood.”

The homes were built in the mid-1930s and are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

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The Air Force says the future of the homes were under review because it needs to offer adequate housing for 30 “key and essential” personnel — senior military and civilian personnel at Wright-Patterson — who officials say must live at the base because of their duties in the event of an emergency.

A major renovation could cost up to $700,000 per home and a less extensive upgrade focused on repairs could reach about $150,000 per house, Ackerman has estimated.

A recommendation on the future of the homes was planned this winter, he said. Whatever option is chosen, 10 government-owned homes built in 1975 along Yount Drive would be demolished, and the Foulois House, built in 1874 and home to a high-ranking general, would be renovated, plans show.

The homes are among the last in the government-owned housing in the Air Force. Fifteen years ago, Wright-Patterson privatized more than 1,500 residences, but an Air Force study concluded those remaining “are not of adequate size and are not close enough” to the key leaders work sites to be considered alternatives.

An environmental review found no adverse or minor impacts to the environment if the brick homes were demolished. But the study noted a “major impact” on the historic district’s “cultural landscape” if the old houses were torn down.

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The Air Force has scheduled an environmental impact hearing at 7 p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday. An open house is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. An overview of options is set for 6:30 p.m.

The meeting is inside the high school media center, 900 East Dayton Yellow Springs Road.

The public may submit written comments though July 17 on the latest proposal. Comments may be submitted to Wright-Patterson Public Affairs, 5135 Pearson Road, Building 10, Room 235A, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433 or via email at 88abw.pa@us.af.mil or at the website http://wpafbhousingeis.versar.com.

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