By Kristina Mullis
ZUSHI CITY, Japan – Ikego residents and base service providers gathered together October 11 as part of an ongoing focus group initiative designed to discuss community concerns and brainstorm solutions to resident issues.
Representatives from MWR Yokosuka, the Ikego Housing Office, the Navy Exchange, Fleet and Family Support Services, Yokosuka Child and Youth Education Services, and more, as well as Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka Ikego Detachment leadership and Ikego residents, attended the focus group, which served as a follow up from the last meeting on July 19.
Transportation to and from Yokosuka and activities for teens remained the top concerns for residents, as well as the sense of needing additional services and programs to accommodate the growing community.
Master Chief Aguilera, Ikego command liaison, addressed the transportation issue and discussed the termination of the additional home-to-work bus service offered during the last three months.
“The active duty ridership requirements must be at least 50 percent,” Aguilera said. “Unfortunately, the additional home-to-work bus did not meet that requirement in the trial period.”
Out of a number of new concerns including parking, middle and high school bus transportation safety, and ways to open the elementary school facilities to all families, the majority of the discussion was based around budget.
Currently, there is no separate budget for Ikego and Yokosuka, and many residents voiced concerns about how Ikego is affected. By comparison, Ikego was said to have about 30 percent of the total population of occupied housing between both bases. Many residents echoed the concern that it seems Ikego does not see the number of activities, programs and opportunities given the percentage of families in the community.
In addition to discussing concerns, service providers also offered progress in addressing them.
For example, MWR Yokosuka will host a concert by country group Parmalee in Ikego on October 15, as well as the pumpkin run on October 22. Representatives also reminded residents about the new initiatives dedicated to easing sign-ups for Information Tickets and Travel trips, community center activities and more, by providing online registrations.
In addition, MWR Yokosuka, Navy Fitness Yokosuka and the Fleet and Family Support Center said they are all open to any new ideas and are working to increase the number of classes, fitness activities and family-friendly events to create more of a community in Ikego.
“We want to hear from you,” MWR Community Activities Director Tommie Daniels said. “We will take your ideas and give our greatest effort to try and make them happen.”
FLEACT Yokosuka provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of 7th Fleet’s Forward-Deployed Naval Forces, 83 tenant commands and 24,000 Military and civilian personnel.