City of Tallassee Almost Set to Acquire Mill Property

The city of Tallassee is one step closer to acquiring the Mount Vernon Pine mill property. For year

s, the mill was a major source of income for residents. It closed in 2005 and was destroyed by a fire in 2016.

“A lot of people in this town, that’s what put food on the table, put clothes on their back,” Tallassee mayor John Hammock said.

Now almost four years after that fire, the city of Tallassee could soon be in possession of the property. The city sued Mount Vernon Pine LLC, the current owners of the property, for failing to clean up the rubble.

Hammock says that recent negotiations with the owners have resulted in a possible resolution to the lawsuit.

“We’re moving in the right direction as far as getting something done,” Hammock said.

Hammock said the owner of the property has agreed to donate the mill property and walk away.

“That will allow the city to apply for Brownsfield grants with the EPA, through ADM, to try to get assessment grants and maybe clean up grants in the future,” Hammock said.

Tallassee residents like Ashley Swindall say they agree they want to see something put in the mill’s place for all residents.

“I know a lot of people come across the dam every day and see that down there, so I think people would be excited to you know, see something come up,” Swindall said.

Once the city has control of the property, a major clean up is in store including testing the water and the soil for possible chemicals.
Mayor Hammock says there are several options for the property.

“In the decades to come, it’s the best place for expansion of the water filter plant,” Hammock said. “It would make a nice green space with the river right there. I would like to maybe see a developer come in one day and put maybe a hotel overlooking the river or maybe some retail.”

Hammock says the donation could be complete sometime this week. As far as new developments, Hammock says that could be a lengthy process that will take years to complete.

The cause for that 2016 fire is still unknown. A $25,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to an arrest. If you know anything that could help investigators, you’re urged to call CrimeStoppers at 215-STOP.

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