The Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) operates as a US Army storage facility for chemical weapons and traditional ammunition. Located in Easy Central Kentucky, the area is situated among fields and woods. The military uses BGAD for repair of general supplies and the disposal of munitions. Most of the explosive munitions used by the US Army are stored at Blue Grass as well. Blue Grass Chemical Activity oversees the storage for chemical weapons.
Blue Grass Depot has a few different capabilities such as industrial services support, Chemical Material Surveillance Programs, quality assurance, Molten Salt Research and Development Facility, testing for mortar ammunition and demilitarization of chemical weapons under ACWA. Chemical weapons at BGAD are scheduled for destruction by 2020, but for the current safety of the public, there is limited access to the compound unless you are military personnel.
BGAD has a long history in Richmond, KY. It’s one of the main employers for the area, and it’s also general supply storage for the US Army. With opportunities for veterans, general employment and businesses, much of the community interacts with Blue Grass Army Depot as part of everyday life.
Blue Grass Army Depot opened in 1941 in Richmond. It began operations in 1942 mainly as a supply storage depot and ammunition facility. Later, in 1964, it would merge with the Lexington Signal Depot to become the Lexington-Blue Grass Army Depot. However, the Lexington facility was closed under Base Realignment and Closure in 1999.
There are five Army installations in the US that store chemical weapons. Blue Grass is actually a smaller installation of the Joint Munitions Command. In addition to its storage, testing and demilitarization capabilities, a large part of BGAD is dedicated to training service members.
As chemical weapons gained worldwide focus in 2013 due to conflicts in Syria, media attention focused on the destruction of the last nerve and blister agents being stored at BGAD. Today, a pilot plant at BGAD is under construction to handle the destruction of the chemical weapons. It won’t be completed until 2015 and destruction of the weapons is schedule for 2020.
Units, Facilities and Location
BGAD offers several units on post and facilities for those who are training at the compound. You can visit Blue Grass Depot’s military site to view all of the available units.
Blue Grass Army Depot can be found off I-75 in Richmond about 30 miles southeast of Lexington. It’s close to the cities of Nicholasville and Berrea. BGAD expands over 14,494 acres and is mostly open fields and forests that are still used for munitions storage and the disposal of munitions. Most of the United Sttes’ explosive munitions are stored here as well as remaining chemical weapons. The facilities span 152 miles of pad.
It has an on-base helipad and multiple buildings dedicated mainly to storage., munitions operations, support and energetic production.
BGAD is home to about 1,016 personnel. The depot offers military occupational specialty training for the Army, Army Reserve, National Guard and ROTC.
Much of the new hires in recent years have been veterans. The depot increase its workforce from 1,022 to 1,160 in one year. The base reported that it employs 30 percent or more disabled veterans.
In addition to units available at the depot for those in training, there are plenty of off-base opportunities for housing. Blue Grass is well known for its community support including its veteran support and other activities for cultural resources, annual toy drives, Wounded Warrior hunts and historical society support for Madison County.
Off-base housing can mainly be found in Irvine, Berea, Lancaster, Nicholasville and Winchester. Many families live around Fort Boonesborough State Park. The closest major city to Blue Grass is Lexington. There are also several lodging opportunities when visiting the depot.
There are multiple military communities around BGAD. There are many homes for sale and for rent near the depot including areas in Vine Grove, Radcliff and Elizabethtown. Much of the land near the depot is also available also lots and land offerings. The area around the depot is quite scenic because of all the parks, lakes and Maddy Creek.
Home values in this area range from $80,000 to over $200,000 depending on the area with higher-priced homes available in Lexington. Richmond offers a variety of singly family homes available for around $150,000.
There are also several apartment communities that are convenient to BGAD including Saddlebrook, Autumn Park, Lakewood Park, Resort at Lake Crossing, Stony Falls, Brandywine, Enclave Hartland and Imperial Pointe. Rent for apartments is typically around $800 in this area for a one bedroom. Three bedrooms can be as much as $2,000 depending on the size and location. More expensive apartments and town homes can be found in Lexington.
As for lodging, those visiting Blue Grass Army Depot can stay at a few different hotels and motels nearby like La Quinta Inn, Red Roof Inn, Super 8, Days Inn, Best Western and Comfort Suites located in Richmond.
Those coming in for training will likely be assigned to one of the facilities on the compound. These facilities are off limits to the public and media, so it’s difficult to know what kind of housing is available at the depot for families.
Blue Grass Army Depot is also near to University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College, which gives military service members a chance to live on campus once they complete their tour or even while training in a Reserve or National Guard program.
Blue Grass Army Depot Today
Much of BGAD is off limits if you’re not qualified military personnel or training at the compound. The media and public have been cut off from visiting the depot due to the storage of chemical weapons at the facility. However, employment opportunities and business vendor partnerships are available for Blue Grass Army Depot. As such, the areas surrounding are mostly made up of military families with personnel who commute and work at BGAD every day.