Forest Glen employees will begin to see changes in landscape, closures of roads and facilities, and overall increased construction beginning in the Winter of 2023/2024.
All this movement is necessary as planned Restoration efforts will focus on a waste disposal site located where the softball fields and a helipad are currently. The waste disposal area extends into this hillside, and is bounded on the northeast by a parking lot for Buildings 152, 154, and 156, and additional recreational areas. The preliminary assessment reported that waste disposed of at the landfills included construction debris, medical waste, incinerator ash, household waste, and office waste.
Since this is a non-permitted waste disposal site, closing it requires Fort Detrick to follow very specific regulatory guidance and requirements. The project will include capping the ball fields and helipad with additional topsoil and an impermeable liner to prevent contamination from seeping deeper into the ground.
Officials will continue working with the State of Maryland to address safety factors related to reinforcing the cap’s edge that borders a steep slope. The technique chosen to reinforce the slope must be agreed upon with the state. Unfortunately, this will require removing trees from the steep slopes. Once this process is approved, the real work begins and is anticipated to begin in early Spring, 2024.
The project is currently in design phase and about 62 percent is complete. When it gets to the 90 percent design, officials will present that information to stakeholders. Once it gets to 100 percent, the project will go out for bid, offering local companies the opportunity to construct and complete the project and removing approximately five acres of trees. Seeing the trees come down will be the most dramatic change in landscape that everyone will see. Most of the trees are along the slopes on the back end and side of the ball fields. The project is estimated to take to two years to complete.
When we look at maps where the landfill and contamination is, our plans for the caps must extend past those boundaries. In this project, right outside those boundaries, include a playground and three pavilions that will need to be taken down. So, because of this restoration effort, there will no longer be softball fields, helipad, three pavilions and a playground. The onsite gym, basketball courts and parking lots will remain unaffected.
After the project is complete any further construction or use on that capped area has to be approved by the Maryland Department of Environment. Basically, nothing can penetrate the ground more than 18 inches.
Topics such as entrance and exit of construction vehicles, road closures, times, truck routes, traffic studies, etc., still need to be worked out and this will take time. The Garrison is aware of inconveniences this may cause and certainly the community sentiment of removing 5 acres of trees but this is a Maryland prescribed process and as our regulators, we must follow. As this project gains momentum and we have a clearer date of when construction begins, we will certainly share this information with local neighborhoods, Montgomery County officials and our employees.