- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Ellsworth Air Force Base has opened a community center that will serve as a place for airmen and their families to gather for events like birthday parties and barbecues.

The 5,100-square-foot facility is the centerpiece of a $64 million construction project that when complete will add 214 homes to the base near Rapid City, nearly doubling the amount of family housing there. The three- and four-bedroom units have attached double garages and fenced backyards.

Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for the community center on the base, which is home to an estimated 8,300 people.

“Like any city that needs a common place for people to gather, this community center provides that,” said Col. Ty Neuman, vice commander of the 28th Bomb Wing. “It’s something that we’ve been lacking.”

Sixty-three of the new homes have been finished and are occupied. The rest will be completed over the next 1½ years, according to Neuman.



“Not only is it good for the families to be safe and secure while they’re here working and training, but it also makes a big difference when family members are deployed to know that the family that they leave behind - the kids and spouses and whatnot - are taken care of,” he said. “They’re in a secure, safe environment, close to all the amenities and services that the base provides.”

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