Special to American Forces Press Service
Dec. 4, 2007 - Since the relationship between Zawra Park officials and soldiers of 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, began earlier this year, the Baghdad Zoo and park have started reopening more and more exhibits to the public. Park officials and 15th Brigade Support Battalion soldiers were on hand Dec. 1 to reopen the latest projects, an indoor horse stable and a children's swimming pool at the park in central Baghdad.
"We will consider this day a great day for us and Iraqis," said Dr. Muhsen Abed Hussein. "This accomplishment is credited to all the workers. We would love to do more projects like this inside the park."
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Vieira, 15th BSB's commander, Capt. Amy Cronin, the battalion's special projects officer, from Carlisle, Pa., and Sgt. 1st Class Herb Mowery were on hand to help park officials cut the ceremonial ribbon to the stables and swimming pool complex.
The new horse stable is an indoor facility and features 23 individual stalls and a washroom for the horses. The facility is surrounded by a corral and a horse walking area for routine exercise.
The horse stable and swimming pool are located in an area of the park that has been neglected versus the main part of the park surrounding the zoo. During the war, the park and zoo were heavily damaged. Now, there are plans in the works to reopen the gate and parking lot near the horse stables and swimming pool.
Mowery, a native of Parkersburg, W.Va., said the horse stables and swimming pool were in one of the most damaged areas of the park, but now, he said he feels good about the positive impact the two new facilities will have on the entire park and zoo facility.
While the pool will be open to the public as soon as weather permits, the horse stables will only be available for staff and an equestrian team, Dr. Adil Salman Mousa, the Baghdad Zoo's director, said. Yet, he added, he hopes the horse stable may one day be open to the public, as well.
The horses that are currently in the zoo are a mixture of horses found on Saddam Hussein's and other former dignitaries' properties throughout Baghdad. Mousa said he believes the newest addition to the park will draw more visitors as did the news of the zoo's reopening earlier this year. "We are very happy for the assistance of the Army in opening the stable and also the pool," he said. "This should increase visitors to the zoo and (stable)."
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim is assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.)