Date set for Sappi mill smokestack demolition

1:29 AM, Jan 25, 2012   |    comments
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Muskegon, Mich. (January 2012)

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The landscape of Muskegon will change this weekend now that city leaders have approved the demolition of parts of the former Sappi paper mill.

Two structures, including the mill's 280-foot high smoke stack, will be brought down using explosives. The old Sappi mill is on Lakeshore Drive, where it was built in 1899.

The Muskegon City Commission voted Tuesday to move ahead with the demolition, now set for between 9-10 a.m. Sunday, January 29th.

There was some public concern over environmental hazards generated by the collapse of the smoke-stack. Douglas Melching, who is president of the company tearing down the facility, says the impact would be minimal.

"The site is a filled site, there's a lot of contamination out there, but it's all within industrial guidelines," said Douglas Melching, president of Melching Demolition. "It's been filled for hundreds of years with fill sand, various leftover materials from the paper mill, but all with a non-hazardous consistency."

The smokestack is planned to fall towards Lake Michigan. The president of Melching Demolition says every precaution is being made to ensure a safe demolition.

A portion of Lakeshore Drive will be closed for approximately a half hour between 9-10 a.m. this Sunday morning for the implosion.

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