Council Delays Verso Demolition Permit

Council Delays Verso Demolition Permit Click to Enlarge Photo: Brad Veenstra

Jul 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm

SARTELL, Minn  (KNSI) - Plans to move forward with the demolition of the now-defunct Verso Paper Mill have been put on hold - at least for now.

During their Monday night meeting, the Sartell City Council voted unanimously to delay issuing a two-year interim use permit for AIM Development until the complete demolition plan is approved by consulting agencies.

The demolition plan on the mill's 66 acres is designed to be carried out in two simultaneous 15-month phases.

According to city planner Anita Rasmussen, phase one of AIM's demolition plan involves dismantling existing buildings, including roof removal and concrete crushing, along with capping and/or disconnecting surrounding utilities.

Remaining structures will include an office building, a warehouse and hydrooelectric operations. 

Phase two will be more consulting-based, Rasmussen says. It will focus on performance measures and feedback from the community on the process, along with best strategies for redevelopment of the property.

Rasmussen says the city and AIM are working closely with the Minnesota Dpartment of Health, the MPCA and the DNR on best practices. 

The demolition plan will begin with the property west of the railroad tracks and north of Sartell Street, and shift to the structures on the south side following that. 

Attending representatives from AIM say they are in the recycling business, and will be selling off 90-95 percent of the debris.

They also expressed interest in the historical aspects of buildings containing original yellow brickwork, and said they'd be happy to work with the city on plans to auction them off for charity, or donate them for public works projects. 

Once the IUP is granted, work hours are scheduled 7 days a week. Hours will be 7am to 8pm for general demolition, and 8am to 8pm for truck and rail hauling. Rasmussen says there will be an average of 25 trucks hauling each day.

Noise from the process will conform to MPCA standards for industrial properties, Rasmussen says and will not be above that of former mill operations. 

The Mississippi River-side mill was gutted by fire on Memorial Day, 2012. Operations were suspended indefinitely several months later. 

"We never wanted to see this day come," said Sartell Mayor Joe Perske. "We hope this is the beginning of a process to bring out good things."

The council intends to revisit the topic during their August meeting. 

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