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By CINDY SIMPSON
A new group wants to submit a proposal to study the former American Kraft Papermill property.
Officials had recently met with Cornerstone Technologies Inc., who plans to submit a proposal to do another study at the papermill site.
Cornerstone has good timing, coming forward shortly after city officials renewed interest in the property on the Emory River.
“They are interested in cleaning the site up or being active, not necessarily interested in doing that themselves but being involved,” said City Coordinator Bob Tidwell.
Several years ago, a pair of studies detailed a number contaminants left behind at the plant.
Cornerstone representatives told officials they felt the document may have some data gaps, Tidwell said.
The report didn’t give officials what they felt they needed to know to proceed, including the cost of cleanup.
Sharon McKee of S&ME attended the workshop to give feedback. S&ME did not do either study but played a role in getting funding for them.
McKee recommended contacting Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, including the brownfields manager Andy Shivas, who she called “an advocate for Harriman” when they were doing the grant applications for the studies.
McKee said at the time the state was comfortable with what the report said but couldn’t go any further until the city made a decision on what it wanted to do with the property — including whether to take it over.
She recommended talking to TDEC again.
“He (Shivas) would be a very good advocate again for Harriman,” she said.
“He would like to see something done with it,” Tidwell added.
Officials also discussed the voluntary cleanup program that Shivas is managing.
That program involves an agreement between the state and site owner.
The agreement requires a cleanup promise from the site owner but relieves him from liability for anything that was previously done on the property.
That sort of agreement usually comes with some land-use restrictions, McKee said.
McKee said that $200,000 is the maximum in grant funding that could be received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup.
A required 20-percent match can be done with in-kind labor instead of actual funds.
Officials agree they need to come to some sort of consensus on whether they should take the property and what it should be used for.
Some are leaning toward recreational use.
“It seems to me that most probable use for it would be a green space,” Mayor Chris Mason said.
That may be costly, however. Tidwell said the reports indicate cleanup for recreational use would cost the most. Councilman Charles “Buddy” Holley contended the contaminants were pretty mild.
What can be done is also limited because the property is in the flood plain.
Holley said permanent structures cannot be built in the flood plain. Holley, who spearheaded the renewed interest in the property, said a friend who is retired from the EPA is willing to look at the early reports to see if he could give the city some sort of estimates on cost.