Parts of Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Highland Park and the Forest City Military Communities at Fort Sheridan will be evacuated and closed to the public during the week of June 15, 2015 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performs a munitions investigation.
The Army Corps of Engineers refers to this as a “Military Munitions Response Program Supplemental Investigation.“ In a public notice about the investigation, it said:
“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.”
Daily North Shore asked the Army Corps of Engineers for more information about the investigation. We asked: “Is this investigation routine? Is there a reason for this investigation — was something found that warrants an investigation of munitions? What are the potential hazards?”
The Army Corps of Engineer spokesman replied: “The investigation activities we will be performing are in response to previous work done at the former Fort Sheridan. 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. 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. 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.”
FOX32 Chicago ran a story on the investigation on May 20:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – A North Shore neighborhood is facing an unusual problem, because there might be explosives underground.
Fort Sheridan is a former military base that sits along Lake Michigan, just North of Highland Park. Since the base has officially closed, homes and large buildings have been remodeled into pricey houses and condos.
But as FOX 32 reports, a smaller area with military families will be uprooted next month to find out what’s beneath the ground.
Visit myfoxchicago.com for the full story.
Here is the Public Notice that Daily North Shore ran in April.