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Army estimates Fort Monroe cleanup at $60M to $70M
by Associated Press
HAMPTON (AP) -- It will cost substantially less than expected to remove munitions dating to the Civil War and pollutants from moated Fort Monroe, the Army estimates.
The estimate is now in the range of $60 million to $70 million. Previous estimates put the number as high as $700 million.
The Army is scheduled to leave the historic fort on the Chesapeake Bay next year, when Virginia will assume ownership of the post. The Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority has sketched out a future use as a teacher institute that would draw on the post's Civil War heritage.
Potential partners include the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Virginia Living Museum, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Hampton History Museum, Museum of the Confederacy and the Virginia War Museum.
To prepare for the shift, crews have been cleaning the base of Civil War cannons, munitions and an array of other castoffs.
The cleanup is two-thirds cleanup, said Robert Reali, environmental coordinator with the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.
He said Thursday that about half the cleanup cost will come from scrubbing weapon ranges that extended off the post into the Chesapeake Bay. The area, which has been widely used by the Army and Navy, contains artillery that dates to the 19th century.
A draft cleanup plan that will be made available to the public in August.
Fort Monroe has been called the "Gibraltar of the Chesapeake."
The six-sided, 63-acre fortress sealed by 1.3 miles of granite is the last active moated fort in the U.S. The property includes 264 government buildings and housing, and a majority of the buildings are deemed historic.
Information from: Daily Press, http://www.dailypress.com.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)