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The automaker won city approval last winter to tear down the plant after months of meetings with city officials and neighbors hammering out conditions for the demolition. Since then, the buildings have been cleared of equipment, most utilities have been shut off and asbestos removal has begun.
Environmental cleanup is being done with the help of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Project manager Steve Bill said that all metal from the buildings will be recycled and hauled out by truck and rail.
Demolition work and truck traffic will be restricted to weekday business hours; noise and dust will be controlled, and a hot line has been established to handle complaints. Weekly inspections will be done to ensure that the work is done properly.
Highland Park neighbors “are aware, and I think they’re ready,” Tolbert said.
On Monday, workers were lining the chain-link fences surrounding the plant with black screens to shield the work from busy Ford Parkway, another of the conditions to which Ford agreed.
Ford has enlisted Richard Palmiter, a veteran local real estate broker with national firm CBRE Corp., to market the property to developers.
Edelstein, who is with the Highland Park office of Coldwell Banker Burnet, said he thinks that the property should offer housing that appeals to a range of buyers, from first-time homeowners to retired couples and those in need of assisted living. Area residents, he said, “don’t want to see a suburban explosion. They would like to keep with the flavor of the neighborhood.”
Officials believe that it will take several years before things take shape. Coleman, for one, can’t wait. “Within a couple of years, you’ll see the seeds of a new community that will grow here,” he said.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-222-2732