As required by law, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and representatives from UXB-Kemron Remediation Services hosted an informal session for the public on Thursday on a five-year review for military munitions removal from land at McClellan.
“Every five years we have to submit a review on the lands to make sure there are no changes that have caused them to be unsafe,” said Robin Futch, a project manager with UXB-Kemron, contractors who are investigating areas of McClellan and removing leftover Army ordnance from the former military base.
Futch said, for the most part, land use in McClellan has changed very little since 2008. The area that’s seen the greatest change in terms of cleanup during the ensuing years is the extension of the Veterans Memorial Parkway, stretching through the former Army base and onto the northern reaches of Anniston on Alabama 21.
“These are areas already cleared, and there hasn’t been erosion or land-use change,” Futch said. “So we’re not anticipating any conflict.”
Judging by the turnout Thursday at the Anniston City Meeting Center, residents don’t seem too concerned with the review, as the contractors and engineers on hand to explain the maps and answer any questions far outnumbered the public.
“The sense I get is because McClellan has been closed for so many years, the public isn’t so worried about it,” said Paula Henderson, a project manager with the Corps of Engineers. “Frankly, we’ve been doing a heck of a job.”
In that regard, it was probably fitting that the empty comment collection box better represented the changes, or lack thereof, at McClellan for the last five years than any information packet or map display.
G. Coke Williams, one of the few Anniston residents who came to Thursday’s review, said he stopped by out of curiosity.
“I’ve lived at McClellan for years and didn’t even know what was going on,” Williams said. “I learned a lot, I learned there’s a lot going on I don’t know about.”
Tracy Bergquist, a project manager with UXB-Kemron Remediation Services, said residents can still review the five-year review draft at mcclellan.army.mil and submit comments until July 8. From there, a final draft of the review will be submitted for state approval.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.