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City official says APG is 'extraordinarily helpful, supportive' to Aberdeen

The City of Aberdeen recently received a donation of playground equipment from Aberdeen Proving Ground that the Army installation was no longer planning to use.

That donation of several thousand dollars worth of equipment and two other donations in recent months are an indication of just how good the city's relationship is with the post, Aberdeen City Manager Randy Robertson said recently.

"The relationship between us has been phenomenal, not just giving us things, but the working relationship," Robertson said. "The synergy between the two ... I can't be more complimentary of how they're working with the city."

Garrison Commander Col. Jim Davis, Deputy Commander Mitch Jones and Command Sgt. Maj. Toese J. Tia Jr. have been "extraordinarily helpful and supportive to the city and citizens of Aberdeen," the city manager said.

Davis will be leaving APG June 30, and the post recently welcomed a new senior commander, who made Aberdeen City Hall one of his first stops.

Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor assumed command of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) and became senior mission commander of APG on April 13. He then met with Aberdeen officials that "further honed" the relationship between the two, according to Robertson.

Taylor and Larry Muzzelo, the post's top civilian, met with Robertson, Mayor Patrick McGrady and senior department heads of the city to discuss "opportunities and challenges," Robertson said.

Benefits

The equipment recently donated to Aberdeen includes six benches with mounting posts and hardware, 37 5-foot plastic perimeter barriers, 67 steel barrier spikes, six swings with plastic coated chains and four toddler swings with plastic coated chains.

The benches alone, Robertson said, would cost $300 to $400 each. While the equipment from the APG Edgewood Area was deemed excess by the Army, it is still "sufficiently durable" for Aberdeen to use to replace other equipment at Aberdeen parks as needed, Robertson wrote in an email.

"Also, this equipment may possibly allow some expansion opportunities where the city has play equipment," he wrote, adding the benches could be used at the city's planned dog park.

A month before the playground equipment donation, APG gave the city several hundred feet of 8-foot high chain link fence that Robertson said will also be at the dog park, once construction begins.

The post has also agreed to pave the section of APG Road from behind the train station to the closed middle gate.

"That's important because it's where Aberdeen plans to put the dog park," Robertson said.

Aberdeen was also the recipient of 15 cast concrete trash containers that were going to be destroyed as part of the demolition of enlisted quarters on post, Robertson said. Brand new, such containers are nearly $500, he said.

APG leaders, aware of the city's needs, got Aberdeen in touch with the private contractor to whom the trash containers belonged and the contractor donated them to the city.

The containers will require inserts and lids before they can be used, but Robertson said the city is planning to install them at the new bus stops that are being built around the city this spring.

"I believe, and feel the city council is of the same opinion, that there is an extremely respectful and supportive relationship between the base's and our respective leadership," Robertson said.

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