As a result of the City of Alcoa and Kinsey Probasco Hayes (KPH) proposals to redevelop the Alcoa, Inc. West Plant site, many questions have arisen regarding corrective action due to the possible hazardous substance on the site after the plant closed in the 1980s. The answers are not clear. These questions lead to more questions about why the developers insist on staying on the perimeter of this site for the initial development. Staying on the perimeter is forcing the developer to build an access road to the Springbrook community, which residents of the community do not want. Why can't the developers build a loop road? Could it be because they are hoping to put off developing the brownfield sections of this site due to the higher cost of additional remediation? Thus, are they willing to place the negative impact of high traffic counts on the Springbrook community to save themselves some effort and money?

"Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands."

The Alcoa, Inc. West Plant site in on the Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation, Div. of Remediation, List of Inactive Hazardous Substance Sites.

To try and clarify the status of this site, we contacted the TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Division of Remediation.

According to TDEC, the perimeter of the West Plant site, where the first phase of the traditional retail development (along with the new road) is planned, was primarily farm land not requiring remediation.

Other areas of the West Plant site, e.g. where the actual plant was located, have the suspected brownfields, says TDEC. Based on the discussion, the site was remediated for decommissioning many years ago. This means the site was cleaned up enough for it to sit there and not be used. Once a developer proposes to use this site for redevelopment, e.g. mixed-use commercial, traditional retail, or any other use except for no use at all, the developer must create a plan to present to TDEC. TDEC must approve any plans for development of the site. TDEC must be involved in the process.

The City of Alcoa and KPH must bring a different company to do the clean up. It has been reported that International Risk Group (IRG) has been selected for managing the clean up process. We are told by TDEC there currently is not a plan. An agreement is in the works and IRG is meeting with TDEC, but it is still in the draft stage. In addition, the initial agreement IRG works out with TDEC will be an agreement to make additional plans once IRG/KPH/City of Alcoa picks each site within the West Plant to develop. Each phase of development will require a detailed environmental remediation plan, which will vary depending on the planned use and type of remediation required.

In a recent article in The Maryville Daily Times (April 13, 2012) by Iva Butler reporting on a recent City of Alcoa Commission meeting, the Alcoa City Manager was quoted saying, "The city of Alcoa has the reputation of being the most expensive city to build in." Is it possible the clean up of parcels of the Alcoa Aluminum company plant is why he said this? I sent him an email and letter asking why he said this. No response has been forthcoming. Is there no other land in the CiIty of Alcoa available for growth? Is traditional retail development the type of growth needed?

To summarize, if brownfield areas at the West Plant site are to be redeveloped (e.g. New Urbanist mixed-use, traditional retail, or any use at all except undisturbed), it could cost a lot of money. There is a 40 acre slab on the site where residents have been told will be the development of a new town center. How do you build on an existing slab of concrete? What about utilities, plumbing, sewers, etc.? According to TDEC, the slab would have to be dealt with, it could have to come out.

Why is it the residents of Springbrook must suffer when developers can't afford to do a project right?

Excellent work on this,

Excellent work on this, Bizgrrl!

40 acre Aquarium


Couldn't KPH build a large TN Aquarium on Top of that 40 acre slab of concrete? I've heard they're really into Sea Life conservation, maybe an Aquarium sitting on top of a Hazardous Substance Site, would be the remediation the city needs.

Although I've heard the City Manager (and others at the CoC) would rather have low wage low benefit retail jobs locate there; I'd think medium wage decent benefit light industry jobs could flourish there as well.

Based on KPH & the Chattanooga Aquarium's focus on conservation, perhaps an Evergreen Tree Farm would be a good fit for that location. Who knows? With a conservationist record like KPH has, they might be willing to plant a 40 foot thick Evergreen Tree buffer against Alcoa Hwy, to help clean up the view there.

viva Evo Morales

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