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Fed shutdown impacts Gillem meeting

FOREST PARK — Tuesday’s meeting of the Fort Gillem redevelopment committee was shortened by the federal government shutdown.

Fred Bryant, executive director of the Forest Park/Fort Gillem Implementation Local Redevelopment Authority, said officials normally involved in the ongoing project were on furlough.

“This is going to be a very short meeting,” Bryant said.

Bryant updated members on Project Jasper, the name given to a business that is negotiating to develop within the former Army base. The pseudonym is being used until the deal is completed.

“Project Jasper is moving forward,” he said. “Everything looks good. I believe we are getting very close to finalizing the deal.”

The newest information about the project is that the business will pay $1 million less for Building 516, Bryant said. Negotiations have brought the price down to $6.7 million.

Fort Gillem was established in 1941 and was a sub-installation base to Fort McPherson in East Point. Fort Gillem was annexed into Forest Park in 1973. It was recommended for closure in May 2005 and negotiations began between the Army and Forest Park to purchase the property for industrial and commercial development.

One of the obstacles in a smoother transfer of ownership is about 165 acres of contaminated groundwater scattered about the 1,170-acre property. The Army will assume 100 percent responsibility for the clean-up, whether the city contracts out the work or the Army performs it, Bryant said.

Bryant said he hopes to have documents ready for committee members to examine at the Oct. 23 meeting.

The U.S. Army retains a 250-acre enclave that includes its Criminal Investigations Division Crime Lab, a state of the art facility that is the Army’s only crime lab.