The Forest City military housing community at Fort Sheridan and the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve will be evacuated and closed to the public the week of June 15 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigates the area for unexploded munitions and munitions debris.
Expecting there will be questions from residents, the Corps is hosting a public meeting from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 19 to provide information and address questions about the program, which it refers to as a “Military Munitions Response Program Supplemental Investigation”
The Public Notice about the meeting is included at the end of this story.
So just what is a “Military Munitions Response Program Supplemental Investigation?”
A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said it is part of ongoing activities at Fort Sheridan, and that the evacuation and closure are necessary due to potential hazards. He said the investigation is in response to previous work done at the former Fort Sheridan military base.
“In 2007, a Site Inspection (SI) Report was completed for the other than operational ranges and sites with known or suspected munitions and explosives of concern (MEC), munitions debris, or munitions constituents,” the spokesman told Daily North Shore. “These are referred to as Munitions Response Sites and are addressed under the U.S. Army Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP). The SI Report recommended that further characterization of MEC take place at portions of the installation.
“In 2010, a geophysical survey was conducted to assess the subsurface for metallic anomalies that may indicate the possibility that MEC may be present,” he continued. “As a follow-up to the geophysical survey, we will be conducting digs/excavations to characterize the unknown anomalies identified during the geophysical survey. While the probability of encountering MEC at the site is considered low, as a safety precaution, various areas will be evacuated during the course of our work and trails in the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve will be closed/blocked off.”
Here is the public notice, which the Army Corps of Engineers asked Daily North Shore to post the week of April 20:
April 14, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MEDIA ADVISORY
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Hold Public Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 from 8am to 10am and 6pm to 8pm
WHERE: Courtyard Marriott – Chicago Highland Park/Northbrook
1505 Lake Cook Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A public meeting will be held Tuesday, May 19, to provide information and respond to questions regarding the Military Munitions Response Program Supplemental Investigation activities and the required evacuations and public area closures near the Forest City Military Communities Fort Sheridan neighborhood and Openlands Lakeshore Preserve.
Due to the potential hazards, evacuations/closures of populated buildings and public spaces in the area of Fort Sheridan (e.g., residences, public buildings, playgrounds, etc.) will be necessary to safely conduct the required work. At a minimum, portions of trails and overlooks within the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve will be closed during the entire investigation. Access points along McKibbin Street, Normandy Street, Omaha Street, Marshal Road, Chatfield Drive, and Patten may be blocked and guarded, when the investigation is ongoing to ensure unsuspecting individuals are not placed in jeopardy.
Information on the investigation, required safety zone evacuations, and road, public space, and trail closures will be available at the public meeting. For the convenience of the public, a meeting will be held from 8am to 10am and again at an additional evening session from 6pm to 8pm. The public meeting will be held in an open house format allowing interested parties to attend anytime and for any duration between the established morning and evening hours. The public is encouraged to attend to ask questions and raise any concerns. Detailed posters and fact sheets will be prepared and displayed during the public meeting and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, Forest City Military Communities, and contractor representatives will be available to address any questions or concerns.
Both sessions will be held at the Courtyard Marriott – Chicago Highland Park/Northbrook, located at 1505 Lake Cook Road, Highland Park, Illinois 60035. In order to foster communication and open discussion, video recording devices will be prohibited from the meeting room.
For more information about this event please contact Paula Henderson, Project Manager, Engineering and Support Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers using the Fort Sheridan Site Investigation Project 24-hour public information line at (410) 332-4820.