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Minnesota County to buy ammunition Superfund site from feds for $30 million.

Facing official and unofficial deadlines, Ramsey County has decided to buy Minnesota's largest Superfund site--430 polluted military acres in Arden Hills--from the federal government for $30 million.

Working with Arden Hills, county officials plan to clean up the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site to residential standards and sell the land for redevelopment over the next three to five years.

Cleanup costs and the national economic slump prompted a local developer, the Ryan Cos., to walk away from a proposed $850 million mixed-use development in 2009. The plan was to build 1,750 units of housing units next to offices and shops. Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said the Army has already cleaned up all but 30 of the 430 acres to industrial standards.

County officials faced pressure from both the U.S. General Services Administration, the real estate arm of the federal government, and contractor Carl Bolander and Sons to complete a purchase deal negotiated a year ago.

As part of the arrangement, the city is responsible for compiling a master plan for the property over the next year as well as the site's Alternate Urban Areawide Review, the equivalent of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

Costs for both are estimated to be about $400,000 to $500,000, which the city expects to recoup eventually through development fees. Both the city and county anticipate mixed-use development on the property, ranging from residential to light industrial.

The site, home to about 250 buildings, has been a federal Superfund site since 1983. The plant was built in the early 1940s to develop small-arms ammunition during World War II and hit its manpower peak in 1943 when 26,000 workers assembled a variety of bullets.

The site was mothballed after the war, though it started up production again during the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War. The original site spanned nearly 2,400 acres, but a few hundred acres have been sold off incrementally.

Source: Pioneer Press

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Publication:Hazardous Waste Superfund Alert
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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