First family moves into new housing at Fort Meade 251 town homes built at the base

November 14, 1995|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

For James and Angela Bynum, moving from their cramped townhouse with one bathroom in Severn to one of the new townhouses at Fort Meade seemed an impossible dream.

But the dream came true yesterday when, amid much fanfare, the Bynums and their three children became the first family to move into one of the completed homes off Reese Road.

"We're just glad it's here; it's finally happened," said Mr. Bynum, a Navy petty officer first class and cryptological technician.

The Bynums' tan, three-bedroom townhouse is one of 251 new homes built for military personnel and their families in Meade Heights and along Clark Road to replace dilapidated apartment buildings constructed in the 1940s and 1950s.

All the new houses should be occupied by May, according to base officials. With their two-story foyers, gables and shutters that vary from house to house, and rows arranged in courtyards to instill a sense of community, the homes mark a new direction in military housing.

"This is more of a home than government quarters," said Col. Randall Inouye, district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore.

Traditional military housing "was just bricks in a straight line," he said. "But if you were driving past this, it looks like almost any other community in Anne Arundel County."

After a morning of shaking hands with military officials, cutting a ribbon strung across their front porch, and toasting the new house with cake and punch, the Bynums were ready to get settled.

Mrs. Bynum kept track of the steady stream of boxes the movers carried in.

Petty Officer Bynum changed from his uniform to jeans and a shirt, ready to unpack.

Their children Jared, 5, and Kelcey, 3, took turns making sure the ceiling fan and light in their family room worked, while Taylor, 1, napped.

The ceiling fan is one of the many touches the Bynums say they appreciate after eight years of living in military housing from Pensacola, Fla., to Okinawa, Japan.

They also like their 2 1/2 bathrooms, hardwood floors, screened porch, fenced-in yard, and ample closets.

"I have never in my life seen a nicer house," Petty Officer Bynum said. "If they would sell this one to me, I would buy it in minute."

Junior noncommissioned officers and their families will be chosen for the new housing from a waiting list for base housing based on their ability to move, according to Marilyn Cain, chief of family housing.

The Bynums said they were surprised to be chosen, but they were the first family on the waiting list that also was at the end of its lease and able to move immediately, they said.

And they were willing to be the center of attention at a ceremony opening the first finished group of houses.

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