Col. Brian Kelly, 31st Mission Support Group commander, addresses Team Aviano as Col. Patrick McClelland, 31st Fighter Wing commander, looks on during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new pedestrian bridge July 27 in Area 1. The structure connects the parking lot in the upper perimeter with the main Shoppette parking lot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. MercedesKimble Crossland)
Airmen walk across the new pedestrian bridge after a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 27 at Area 1. The structure connects the parking lot in the upper perimeter with the main Shoppette parking area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. MercedesKimble Crossland)
by Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/29/2010 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony July 27 officially marked the opening of a bridge connecting the upper perimeter parking lot with the main Shoppette parking spot in Area 1.
The 31st Civil Engineer Squadron's innovative idea to build a pedestrian bridge now connects the Area 1 Shopping parking lot to 70 additional parking spots on the upper perimeter
Col. Patrick McClelland, 31st Fighter Wing vice commander, and Col. Brian Kelly, 31st Mission Support Group commander, led the ceremony.
"This has been a real fun for me to watch," Colonel McClelland said. "I've been watching the project from the very beginning. I know there have been some challenges along the way, and I appreciate all the hard work you have done to make this happen."
"This is an in-house project that shows the innovative spirit and can-do attitude when we work together as a team to get something done," Colonel Kelly said.
More than 3,000 vehicles enter Area 1; each competing for one of 1,115 available parking spots. Approximately 800 long-term employees and 2,200 visitors frequent Area 1.
In addition, because of anti-terrorism for protection measures for Department of Defense facilities in Europe, constructing parking garages or structures above or below ground are not permitted.
"This means we have to share and use the land we have, which is very limited," Colonel Kelly said. "It is a big deal for us in trying to help us utilize and work as a team to live and function here in Area 1 with limited spaces that we have."