LOUISVILLE, KY – The U. S. Army has selected a preferred site at Bell and Boardman Lane for a new Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center and presented the information to the Middletown community June 10.
The Bell and Boardman site is zoned for industrial use and offers the reserve good access, utilities and visibility.
The preferred site has wetlands at the site’s base which will not be disturbed. Two smaller pockets of wetlands at the top of the ridge where the reserve center will be built, will be mitigated. The mitigation will include moving and enlarging the wetlands elsewhere on site following strict federal guidelines.
Although several sites were considered, the site selection team comprised of Army, National Guard and Corps of Engineers members looked at nine sites. These sites include three sites from last site selection meeting with six new sites.
Site selection included evaluation of utilities, access, environmental conditions, visibility and if the project could be built on the site.
The following sites were evaluated:
• Site #1 Saybrook Road
o Not buildable due to terrain
• Site #2 River Road
o Not buildable due to the expense of building a road and extending utilities
• Site #3 Bell and Boardman Lane (The preferred site)
o Environmental – has wetlands, but can be mitigated
• Site #4 Tollgate Road
o Not buildable due to terrain and condition for utilities, access and visibility
• Site #5 Aircraft Road
o Access is limited; not buildable because entire site is covered by wetlands and endangered species habitat
• Site #6 Freeman Road
o The Army selected this site as the original preferred site and reported the site selection at a Jan. 24 public meeting. The selection brought opposition from community members mainly due to an agreement stating the State would have first rights to purchase if the Connecticut Light & Power Company were selling. The Army solicited additional sites from the community which led to the Bell and Boardman Lane site selection.
• Site #7 Aircraft Road (P&W)
o Not buildable; environmental investigation continues
• Site #8 Middle and Bell Streets
o Not buildable –not enough acreage; wetlands and stream splits parcel
• Site #9 Roscommon Office Park (Industrial Park Road)
o Not enough buildable acreage due to configuration and wetlands
Other sites were referred and could not be included in the site visits because of the following reasons:
o I-91 (Nature Conservancy)
o Owner not interested in selling
o Middle Street (Aetna Life Insurance Company)
o Owner not interested in subdividing
o Middle and Atkins Street (Delta Building Company)
o Not enough acreage for the project
o Atkins Street (Krane Development Company)
o Not enough buildable acreage for the project
Originally, the site appeared to have too large of a slope for building and was not included in the original site visits. The site was added to the March 2008 site visits and became the preferred site by the site selection team.
The project must follow strict environmental requirements through the National Environmental Policy Act known as NEPA. The project site will go through an environmental assessment known as an EA and will conduct a Findings of No Significant Impact process. If this process finds environmental concerns which would be harmful to human health or the environment, the process requires alternatives be looked at to correct. A public comment period allows the community to respond to the alternatives and to give input into the process.
Congress required the reserve center to be built within the Middletown city limits under Base Realignment and Closure Law.
The Armed Forces Reserve Center will include approximately 186,000 square feet. The campus will include a vehicle maintenance shop and organizational unit storage. Approximately 150 full-time personnel are expected to use the campus.
The campus will be used by citizen soldiers and will offer classroom training for distance learning and computer simulation, Human Resource and administration offices and vehicle maintenance.
The final request for proposals is expected in August with the environmental assessments completed in November. Contract award for construction is tentatively scheduled for March 2009 with the project ready for occupancy March 2011.