If money to clear the former Army post of unexploded ordnance hadn’t been secured, where would McClellan redevelopment be today?
If wide swaths of acreage and vacant buildings hadn’t been checked for leftover Army relics, where would McClellan redevelopment be today?
If potential McClellan tenants — home-builders, industries — weren’t confident that their property was clear of nasty mortars, mines and ammunition, where would McClellan redevelopment be today?
On and on this could go, but the answer would be the same: The progress made at McClellan in recent years is due in large part — if not a huge part — to the removal of unexploded ordnance from property that is especially valuable to the future of Anniston, where it sits, and the county at large. If you want an example, look no further than the first portion of Veterans Memorial Parkway, which opened in January 2011. Without safe property, that road doesn’t exist.
Today at 4:30 p.m. at the Anniston City Meeting Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hold a public meeting to update the progress of McClellan cleanup. We expect no real surprises. In February, officials at the McClellan Development Authority told The Star’s editorial board that more than 3,100 acres were available for “sale or further development,” that 4,400 acres were being cleaned, and that nearly 2,000 acres would be ready for development this fall.
Those are the cold, hard figures that represent progress at McClellan. It’s slow, methodical and tiresome, but it is progress nonetheless.
Life with the Army brought Anniston all sorts of byproducts — some pleasant, others not. Anniston thus became another example of what happens when the Army deserts military towns: left behind, discarded, are the remnants of soldiers’ lives.
Each muddied, rusted munition picked up at McClellan gets Anniston’s former post closer to its destiny as an economic engine for the entire region. It’s a destiny that can’t get here soon enough.