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Published: Wednesday, 1/30/2008

Petersburg leaders want housing on plant site

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

PETERSBURG, Mich. - Local officials hope a vacant factory site can be converted to a housing development.

Demolition of the former Purolator Inc. building on Walnut Street began last week.

Petersburg bought the 1.8-acre site and began overseeing its cleanup through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's brownfield redevelopment program for former industrial sites, one of which could help Petersburg recoup its cleanup costs.

The type of development which can be done there depends largely on the level of contamination found in the soil beneath the factory.

The site is surrounded by homes and is near an elementary and middle school.

Ray Spalding, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality project engineer, said the contaminant level is unknown.

Purolator used the buildings until the late 1970s to make air and oil filters and vehicle parts. The property was later used by Van Deilen Industries Inc. to refurbish sheet steel equipment.

Mayor Jim Holeman said Petersburg "will be looking for ideas as to what to put in there and [hopefully] get some developers who want to invest some money in Petersburg."

So far, Petersburg has invested about $100,000 in the purchase of the property and has contracted with Homrich Inc. to raze the structure for $202,000.

Mr. Holeman said Petersburg is negotiating with United Parcel Service, which had an ownership in the building at one time, to pay some of the costs related to the cleanup.

"To date, UPS has been very cooperative," he said.

Contact Mark Reiter at

markreiter@theblade.com

or 734-241-3610.



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