Fort Detrick’s Old Farm Gate — located near the Food Lion on Yellow Springs Road — will remain open, the garrison announced over social media earlier this week. This reverses the fort’s initial decision to close the gate and extend the hours of Veteran’s Gate.
The military base announced the impending closure of the gate earlier this month, citing budget cuts. The Army’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year was $173 billion, $3.6 billion less than the previous year, garrison spokeswoman Lanessa Hill said at the time.
However, after holding town halls and then hearing from residents over email and social media about how the closure would affect the community, Fort Detrick worked with “mission partners to creatively think outside the box” to find a way to keep the gate open, Hill wrote in an email to the News-Post Thursday.
“At the end of the day, leaders at Fort Detrick care about this community and want to ensure our service members and their families are taken care of and that we do not create any inconvenience with our neighbors,” she wrote.
“In terms of budget, we are good in the ... foreseeable future and know our FY22 funding,” she added.
Following the initial announcement of the gate’s closure, some who live at Fort Detrick raised concern about how it would affect their children’s route to school, since Old Farm Gate is the entrance located closest to family housing on the base. Others said the decision to close the gate and extend the hours of Veterans’ Gate would worsen traffic patterns along Seventh Street, a two-lane roadway where the speed limit is 25 mph.
Now, Old Farm Gate will operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. over the weekends. Veterans Gate will continue operating from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, and Nallin Farm Gate is always open.