Sanford redevelopment on hold for pollution

- The site in Downtown Sanford sometimes referred to as "The Catalyst" is on hold while the city tries to figure out if there is pollution there, and how much it will cost to clean it.

The property is right in front of the Sanford Marina and connects to 1st Street, making it a perfect place for Sanford to try and kick-start redevelopment according to Commissioner Art Woodruff.  "This would be a site to show that Sanford is ready for this kind of development and if this is successful then other private companies will come in to develop other things around the city," said Woodruff.

A preliminary look at the property shows great potential for pollution. Woodruff says city commissioners have been prepared for this.  "So far, I'm not surprised by what they found because I knew that there was a car dealership there and that they did automotive work there. So that's what they are showing that needs to be tested to see if there is any contamination."

Woodruff is not overly concerned with delays associated with trying to find out how damaged this property is.  "This is a long term project. This isn't something we were going to build in a year."

Monday, city commissioners will vote on spending $40,000 to try and learn more about what type of contamination is underneath that soil. What Art Woodruff does not know yet is how much it will cost to clean up the site. "We would have to clean it up before someone is going to take ownership and develop it because they don't want to end up being responsible for any cleanup."

The city will attempt to find all previous owners of the site that are still alive and have them help defray the cost of that cleanup. Longterm, the city hopes the site will be developed into either office space, retail, residential, or a combination of the three.

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