American Forces Press Service
June 27, 2008 - Iraqi security forces, civic leaders, local townspeople and coalition forces gathered in the Ameriyah community in Baghdad's Mansour district June 25 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to acknowledge the opening of the biggest public works substation in the Iraqi capital. Public works substations provide essential services to local communities, such as trash pickup, street cleaning and other services necessary for proper community maintenance.
The opening of the Ameriyah substation marks an important milestone for residents of this area, who have not had these services in more than two years.
"These basic services used to be centralized into only one station located in the eastern Mansour district of Baghdad, creating a deficit in other parts of the city," said Army Col. Louis Fazeka, part of the provincial reconstruction team embedded with the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Multinational Division Baghdad.
"The focus of this mission has been to 'decentralize' and make substations throughout western Baghdad, making these services more readily available to those neglected parts of the city," Fazeka explained.
The colonel said that he hopes, in time, that these stations will aid in Ameriyah's security and stability by restoring the confidence of the people in their government.
"These people want these basic essential services that you and I take for granted back home," Fazeka said. "It boosts the peoples' confidence in the government."
With the help of contractors, the PRT went to work and cleaned up the area where the substation now stands, leveled the ground, fixed up the run-down house there and put concrete T-wall barriers around the lot to increase security for the workers and the equipment.
The project took 45 days to complete.
"This station has brought life back to 15,000 residents due to the reinstatement of these services," said Salwan Talal Latif, Iraqi public works assistant zone director, and a 30-year resident of Ameriyah.
"Seven months ago, we were hiding in our houses in fear for our lives," he continued. "But thanks be to God, ... all aspects of fear that we had [are] in the past, and our lives are open now, and so are our opportunities."
(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)