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Workers slowly knocking down B.C. Cobb smoke stack

Weather will play a big role in determining how much work can be accomplished each day.

MUSKEGON, Mich. - Day after day workers are reducing the size of the historic B.C. Cobb power plant smoke stack.

The nearly 650-foot-tall stack is being removed in five feet by five feet sections.

Those chunks are being dropped to the ground on the inside of the stack and removed at the base of the stack.

It will be a slow process with work expected to finish at the end of January 2019. However, weather will play a big role in determining how much work can be accomplished each day.

On a clear day, workers and powerful equipment can be seen and heard working on the top of the stack.

Explosives can't be used at the site because of a substation near the base of the stack that's still operational.

"So the entire project is coming down mechanically," said Tom McKittrick, President of Forsite Development.

North Carolina based Forsite acquired the B.C. Cobb property in 2017.

The company hopes to convert the site into a deep-water marine terminal. If successful the 115-acre site with a 1,000 foot dock on Muskegon Lake could offer a cost-effective transportation option to get Michigan crops and products to new national and international markets.

But first, the big stack and other structures at the site need to be removed.

Consumers Energy closed the coal-fired power plant in 2016.

"There's an incredible redevelopment opportunity on a lot of these sites to re-purpose them and decommission those plants in a manor that can hopefully attract new projects back to those sites creating jobs and investment," said McKittrick.

The stack's interior concrete liner has already been removed. It's the exterior shell that's being cut and knocked down now.

All the demolition work at the Cobb property is expected to finish by the end of 2019.

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