I was able to tour the former U. S. Army Base known as Warner Barracks in Bamberg, Germany. The military history of the property dates back to 1891 when it was established as a Royal Bavarian Army infantry barracks. It served the German Army during WWI, and WWII The17th Calvary Regiment as well as the 35th Tank Regiment were stationed there.
The U.S. Military entered Bamberg in April 1945 and subsequently occupied the barracks and dismantled the German ammunitions depot that was on the site. The U.S. Army appropriated the Barracks in 1950 and renamed it for Cpl. Henry F. Warner whose heroic actions against German tanks at Bütgenbach, Belgium earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor. The U. S. Army developed a long term strategic garrison at Warner Barracks in 1951 offering support to larger bases in the region.
Following the declared end to The Cold War the base was closed in 2014. A portion of the old base is currently occupied by the Bundespolizei. The city of Bamberg had pondered the future of the remaining areas of the compound until recently. Some buildings are designated as historical sites and will remain as protected structures. Much of the base is being bulldozed to make room for apartments. The housing situation is a hot topic throughout Germany. Local governments cannot go wrong when it comes to increasing available living space for the local population.
On the tour I could imagine the base in it’s heyday with military vehicles being maintained, and supplies being moved through the compound. What we saw on the tour was mostly rubble that had to be sorted, and checked for contamination to determine if it could be reused or not. Asbestos was cited as the main contaminant. We were also told that some areas had toxic levels of pesticides due to the heavy overuse of the chemicals by the U. S. Troops.
The tour wrapped up with a live band, food, and of course beer, all available for an affordable fee. A series of displays about the proposed project were available to view. It included apartments, townhouses and a cultural center.
I hope that the city and the developers do a decent job with the new plans. I also hope the housing is affordable to the people who genuinely need a nice place to live.