The plan started as a request from former Fort Knox U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. CJ King and officials from the Directorate of Public Works.
On July 15, soldiers from 19th Engineer Battalion gave the plan teeth as they began work on a new 5.7-acre recreational body of water on the installation King named Castle Lake in honor of the engineers. The lake will be located north of Training Area 13.
“I am truly thankful to the officers, NCOs and soldiers of the 19th Engineer Battalion for this work,” said Jason Root, director of Fort Knox DPW. “This is such a great project for several reasons.”
Root said one of those reasons is because the lake, which will be managed by the Environmental Management Division, will provide outstanding new recreational opportunities for all at Fort Knox.
“I have great memories fishing with my family,” said Root, “and I can only hope that the people who work and live on Fort Knox can have the same.”
Root said another benefit of the construction comes in the form of a quality training opportunity for members of 19th. The battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Beal, agreed.
“This massive project directly correlates with several of our essential training tasks,” said Beal. “It allows our equipment operators to exercise their operator competences, maintain equipment readiness for deployments, and enables leaders to provide general engineer project management.”
The project, expected to be completed in six phases, will require berms rising 5 to 10-feet with a base width of about 60 feet. Surveyors and designers have completed the first phase by marking out the location, taking soil samples, studying the topography and planning the construction.
The second phase has now started with soldiers clearing out and grubbing the area. Officials consider that phase the foundation for all the work that will follow. The third phase will involve digging out the lake and building up the walls around it.
Officials said this phase is where a lot of the horizontal construction will take place.
Engineers will use Phase 4 to improve the land around the lake and make any final grades. Officials said the final two phases will put the finishing touches on the area, filling up the lake and stocking it.
“Our soldiers are excited to conduct this training, which also has a meaningful purpose to our families and the community,” said Beal.
Construction is expected to be complete by March 1, 2022, but the lake won’t be ready for fishing for another two to three years, said DPW officials.
Once it comes on line, it will be the fourth largest lake at the installation and serve as a resource for family events and local soldiers who enjoy fishing.
“This is going to take a barren lifeless area … and turn it into a living lake that supports a variety of birds, fish and other animals,” said Root. “All around, I am thrilled to be a part of this effort and so thankful to the 19th for helping us with it.”