Demolition of the Appvion Paper Mill in Roaring Spring has officially begun, and plans are in the works for what will eventually take its place.
The Altoona Blair County Development Corp. Along with an engineer working on the demolition presented not only the unique challenges of the site but also a new proposal for the future a recreational area that will hopefully draw in crowds as well as revenue.
“Our biggest concern here at the Borough is that the site becomes developable, that it gets cleaned up properly with all of the environmental issues and that big ideas like that that someone can really take them seriously.”
A lot of the discussion during Monday’s presentation focused on the environmental issues the former Appvion paper mill site posed for developers.
“As I discussed tonight we have asbestos, we have stream issues, we have legacy waste, we have environmental treatment plans that we need to get rid of and I think that everything that has been conveyed to me made me realize that we’re pretty committed to maintaining the integrity of the area.”
Many residents voiced their concerns about the demolition and new proposal destroying some cherished landmarks.
“I think the loss of the business is something that we’ll never forget because it has such a long history here and many citizens including myself were former employees there.”
A recreational area is proposed in its place. While there’s excitement around it some shared concerns about the potential funding of the project.
“I think it’s exciting and the pictures look great, it was exciting. My only question is how are we going to pay it? Some folks here raised the question, is it going to be privately funded or with taxpayer funds. The investment group I think said they’ll use private funds so if they can pull it off I say that’s great.”
Officials say the environmental cleanup will take about 18 to 24 months and then the site will be ready to build on.