FRIDLEY, Minn. - It sounds like a no-brainer, taking a soon to be vacant building in Fridley and over the next several years, turning it into a modern-day business park.
"Our redevelopment will bring back 40 companies with ultimately 3,500 jobs back to this site," said Paul Hyde with Hyde Development.
Hyde is a partner at Hyde Development, which plans to redevelop a 130-acre site on East River Drive making it the largest redevelopment in the Twin Cities, if not the state, according to officials.
"Rarely do you get this large of development this beautifully placed. It is as well placed as any development could be," said Scott Hickok, Fridley Community Development Director.
It is clear there are many benefits to redeveloping this site, which was formerly FMC Corp, but some are concerned about the possible problems that lie beneath the surface.
During World War II, the property was used to make artillery and harmful chemicals were left behind. The Environmental Protection Agency identified it as a superfund site in the 1980s and claimed it cleaned up the vast majority of the site in 1992.
"There's a part of the site that isn't even developable because it's just too polluted," said Jenny Petersen, of Fridley.
Petersen is concerned about the safety of the location, specifically a portion that cannot be cleaned, which city officials say is about 200 yards away and is contained.
"Maybe it can be done safely, but I think it's being rushed a little bit too much," she said of the proposed development.
"No one knows what could be potentially in the ground and I wouldn't want to find out," said Fridley Native, Jason McCarty, who started a Facebook group called Fridley Cancer Cluster.
Hyde says his company specializes in redeveloping sites like this one and has done a similar project for Fridley.
"We've gone through the top 10 feet of dirt in the whole 130 acres," he said of the property. "We know everything that's here and there's an existing system to treat the ground water on site."
Hickock says every portion of this project will be monitored by state and federal authorities.
"This is taking a site that has a history of contamination and cleaning it up," said Hickock.
Peterson, who says she lives about a mile from the location, worries what else they may find if the plan is approved.
"That could open a whole new can of worms," she said.
A public comment period on the project ends Wednesday, but Hickock says there will be an opportunity for the public to comment on this project some more.
If approved, construction could start as soon as this year.
For more information about the project, go to www.ci.fridley.mn.us/public-meeting-notice-fmc-redevelopment.
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