Fort Bragg’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation has had a busy couple of years and is showing no signs of slowing down. Over the last two years, FMWR has completed a total of 15 projects at a cost of nearly $15.5 million. FMWR’s current endeavors, which include 22 projects, come in at a cost of just under $6 million dollars, and 13 future projects are expected to cost just over $13 million. There has been a clear focus by FMWR on childcare and sports.
FMWR projects are funded by non-appropriated funds, including revenue from FMWR programs and funding from organizations such as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the Qualified Recycling Program. QRP reclaims materials and then invests profits back into Fort Bragg and is run by the Directorate of Public Works.
“Anything we make goes right back in to other projects,” said Lori King, deputy director, Fort Bragg FMWR.
FMWR has big plans for sports fields and fitness centers in the near future.
Funded and in-progress plans include Normandy Tennis Courts, which will be brought back from a state of disrepair.
Additionally, 95 percent of the design has been completed for a large refurbishment at the Ritz-Epps Physical Fitness Center, which will begin in December 2017.
A large recreation complex is planned centering around Pope Army Airfield. The now closed Pope Lanes bowling alley is scheduled to be turned into Pope Lanes Cardio Center, with multiple rooms for different types of cardiovascular exercise. It will run similar to a fitness center, but will be entirely cardio. Fort Bragg Field, completed in 2016, is scheduled to be converted to a softball field and an additional 14 ball fields are planned in the area.
The Loredo Child Development Center was also recently renovated in order to provide hourly child care and cater to the needs of military Families hoping to enjoy the fitness amenities being created.
Smith Lake has also been the focus of much attention from the FMWR. Recent completion and relocation of the equipment checkout center to Smith Lake will be followed up by the building of Smith Lake Recreational Center.
The recreational center will be situated right off of the lake and can be used for functions such as conferences. The recreational center will also have office space and large deck with a scenic view of Smith Lake.
“Command is working hard to get the Smith Lake Dam repaired so those two projects will go hand-in-hand,” said King.
“One thing we want to highlight is that we are doing a lot with playgrounds,” she said.
A refurbishment of the Pope Army Airfield Flightline Playground is complete.
Lucy Gleason, Family member, explained that the new “spinny thing” is the best.
“Because it spins you around fast,” she said.
“There’s other parks off post that we’ve been to … I feel better bringing them here on post and having the nice facilities makes it great,” explained Mechelle Dartt, a Family member visiting the park with her 6-year-old son Landon.
Construction on the Wilson Park playground is in progress with an expected completion this month. The Prager Child Development Center playground has been completely renovated. The playgrounds at Fernandez and Rodriguez Child Development centers have been partially completed, both centers were built in 1983.
“They (playgrounds) are a huge deal! My gosh you wouldn’t believe what goes into the construction and design of a playground,” said King.