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MPCA: Redevelopment Of Fmr. St. Paul Ford Plant Can Proceed

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency say contamination shouldn't get in the way of redeveloping the land in St. Paul where the company's Twin Cities Assembly Plant once stood.

An environmental analysis released Thursday night identified five hot spots that need attention, but they say plans can proceed for mixed-use development involving residences, light industry, office space and parkland.

Officials said hundreds of soil samples and borings throughout 135-acre Ford site showed expected levels of contamination.

The plant closed in 2011, and Ford began removing hazardous materials and demolishing buildings in 2012. Mike Hogan, Ford's site manager, said the company is currently excavating soil and backfilling areas with clean dirt.

Ford executive Rob Cory told an audience in St. Paul that the company expects to finish cleaning up the site and sell it to a developer by 2019.

MPCA hydrologist Amy Hadiaris says the 135-acre Ford site will be easier to clean up than some others because the bedrock is only 6 feet below the surface, making it easier to manage the contamination.

St. Paul is planning more contamination studies for the property. Officials recently completed a jobs strategy report that outlines the types of industries and business that would be best suited for the area. The report also suggests financial strategies to attract those businesses.

The city is also studying energy, the real estate market and traffic in the property's area. Staff of the city plan to hold public hearings on zoning and a public plan this fall to guide the location of infrastructure, including streets and parks, on the site.

Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement that "the development opportunity this site presents is rare, and we look forward to seeing this re-emerge as a connected, livable community."

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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