U.S. Army demolished Opa-locka structures

As scheduled, on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, 2012, the structures located at 2057 Washington Avenue and 1700 Service Road were successfully demolished through a project conducted by the City of Opa-locka and the 766th Engineer Company of the United States Army, whose higher headquarters is the 841st Engineer Battalion in Miami, Florida.

While consistently seeking local training opportunities for their units to support, by removing havens for vagrancy, varmints, stragglers, over-grown vegetation, unsightliness, illegal activity, safety issues eyesores and just plain nuisances to the community, the demolition project provided an excellent opportunity for soldiers, because the mission (aside from construction and project management training benefits) allows them to simulate operations in urban environments, while working with local governments and continuing Full Spectrum Operation (FSO) training. The City and the neighborhood also benefits, due to the elimination of fire and windstorm hazards, as well as the danger to human life and public welfare.

The City worked with the battalion last year during another three day military training opportunity, where the two initially joined forces for the exercise. The assignment was to demolish the incomplete structures left by the developer of Villa Francine Condominiums, Northwest corner of 27th Avenue and 132nd Street. Through the use of Hydraulic Excavators, a D7 Dozer and 20 ton dump trucks, soldiers operated under the rules and applicable laws of local government, which simulates the Contemporary Operating Environment (COE) overseas.

One of the benefits for the soldiers is the hands-on functional experience it gives them to work and provide services under someone else’s rules and territory, especially dealing with non-military entities; an exercise which allows the soldiers and leaders to practice adjusting to the cultural environment of others (an application they need apply to winning the hearts and minds of people overseas).

The Army was also responsible for transferring the debris from the demolition site to the dump; all at no extra cost to the City, beyond the fuel charge and tipping fee.

The City of Opa-locka Police were present at the job site. There were no traffic or other unanticipated issues. Plans are currently being made to remove the remaining debris and properly level the grounds. Work is rescheduled for Saturday April 14, 2012, followed by plans for more demolitions in the months to

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