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Former fort to house Site R military police

The U.S. Army is leasing a building at the former Ft. Ritchie to provide housing for a group of military police. The MPs provid

The U.S. Army is leasing a building at the former Ft. Ritchie to provide housing for a group of military police. The MPs provid

October 03, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Fort Ritchie, the former U.S. Army base in Cascade, is again housing members of the military: Military police providing security at nearby Site R, an Army spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Site R, known locally as the "underground Pentagon," is an alternate military command center inside a Pennsylvania mountain near the Washington County community of Pen Mar.

The Army is leasing a building at Fort Ritchie from PenMar Development Corp. to provide housing for a "detachment" from Oklahoma, spokeswoman Jennifer Lafley said.

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She said she did not know the number of people in the detachment.

Fort Ritchie was chosen as a location for housing because of its proximity to Site R, Lafley said.

The PenMar Development Corp. was created by the Maryland General Assembly to redevelop the land for business use to replace the 2,000 jobs lost when Fort Ritchie closed in September 1998.

The military tenants have started moving onto the base this week, PenMar Board Chairman Brett Wilson said.

The initial lease between the Army and PenMar for a former barracks building is for one year, Wilson said.

Wilson said he did not want to reveal the location of the property on the base because of the sensitive nature of Site R.

Wilson would not disclose the amount of the lease.

Washington County Commissioner William J. Wivell, the county's representative on the PenMar board, said he was pleased by the lease.

"I think it is a positive move and I'm glad we are able to get some cooperation with the Army and PenMar and develop some economic stimulus in the Cascade area," Wivell said.

The military police will help the local economy by buying groceries and gasoline and shopping in the area, Wivell said. Wivell is the county representative on the PenMar board.

The board authorized the lease at a meeting Friday.

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