MUSKEGON, MICH. - Before summer is over, investors say the two remaining smokestacks towering over the Sappi Paper Mill site in Muskegon will be gone.
Thursday, May 18, the demolition plan was outlined during a meeting at Muskegon City Hall. Thirteen Pure Muskegon investors bought the Sappi site last year with plans for a residential, commercial and recreational development.
They have been tearing down and removing the mill, but there are still two tall stacks covered with paint containing hazardous asbestos. It will take four to six weeks to safely remove the paint, then a demolition team will bring down the stacks.
“They are both going to go to the north,” explains Steve Murray of SCM Engineered Demolition. “The one on the west side is going to stay together longer than the one on the east side. One is brick and one is concrete.”
“We expect to have asbestos removal completed by July Fourth,” says Don Penniman, hydrogeologist from Lakeshore Environmental. “Then have the stacks on the ground by the end of July.”
Contractors also plan to demolish the historic Chase-Hackley Piano Factory Sappi used for storage. Pure Muskegon investors say they hoped to save the building, but it is in very poor condition.
“We have tried to interest some developers who rehab old buildings,” says Pure Muskegon spokesman Wes Eklund. “We pretty much determined, financially, there is not much of a case for keeping that building on site.”
Ecklund says there are no firm commitments from any developers interested in creating projects on the property.
“We are working on that diligently but we have nothing concrete to report, as of right now,” he says. “We feel the further we get with the cleanup and having all the structures off the site we will get a lot more interest because it will be more development ready.”
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