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At least $500 million has been spent since 9/11 on renovating Guantanamo Bay
But afterward, the population, which had hovered around 2,000 for decades, quickly quadrupled. Many residents were housed in rundown buildings and trailers that reeked of mildew.
Today, some of those buildings look like modern-day hotels with mirrored walls, brass handrails and handsome foyers.
In the surrounding neighborhoods are most of the 27 top-dollar but modest-looking playgrounds built for a population of 5,500. In areas such as Fairfax County, planners allot one playground for every 2,800 people.
"The playgrounds are built around the number of neighborhoods the installations has, not by the number of children," said Blaisdell, the base commander, noting that the base has 15 neighborhoods.
The average cost of a playground at the base is $130,000, two to three times the cost of similar facilities in Fairfax and Montgomery counties.
There are 398 children younger than 18 at Guantanamo Bay. During a recent visit to the base, few of them seemed interested in the playgrounds. Still, $1.6 million has been awarded for more playgrounds, bringing total spending to $5.1 million.
Hall said she was shocked by the figure.
"It would amaze me if we paid that much," she said.
Staff researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.