November 21, 2019 9:13:07 AM
For 10 years, residents who live near the site of the former Kerr-McGee site have waited for something to be done at the old creosote plant that has until now, been a symbol of blight and suffering in the heart of the city.
Now, as clean-up at one part of the 90-acre site nears completion and the clean-up of the main site is set to commence in about a year, residents are naturally eager to see real progress in redeveloping the area.
As Ward 4 councilman Pierre Beard noted, there's been a lot of talk about redevelopment and people are ready to see that talk turn into action.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Multistate Trust, the EPA and the design firm that will plan and market the Superfund site, invited residents to drop by the Trust's community resource center on 14th Avenue to see some concepts for redevelopment and offer their preferences, which will be used to put together a plan.
Officials said some redevelopment could begin within a few months, but one look at the concepts presented immediately drives home to fact that broad-scale development of the site is likely to be years and years in the making.
Concepts ranged from industrial to residential to commercial, open spaces, parks, even a large-scale community garden or commercial nursery. It will likely include a community center and other public spaces.
It truly is a smorgasbord of options. Unlike it's original use, the 90-acre site will not be one thing. It will be many.
There could be as many as a dozen developers involved and the red-tape involved in working through state, federal and local government is something almost certain to take considerable time.
The area will not be transformed overnight. It will likely progress in increments, in fits and starts.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that a real plan, although yet obscure, is beginning to emerge.
We understand that residents in the area have grown tired of being asked to be patient.
That remains the message. That patience will ultimately be rewarded, we believe.
But not anytime soon.
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