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ASHLAND - A $130 million project is underway in Ashland that will bulldoze some of the city's historic buildings."Northern States Power Company has stepped forward to start the process," said Mike Bebeau, the company's service manager.
It's a process that's been in the works for nearly 20 years, cleaning up chemicals and residue from Ashland’s waterfront.
"We're excited because we haven't been able to develop the site and use it," Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen said.
The buildings have been empty for 40 years, it was once a highly industrialized area.
Materials from the companies that were housed there at the turn of the century have caused the pollution.
"Lumber treatment, part of it's from manufactured gas facility that was on the upper bluff," said BeBeau.
"Eventually that moves slowly towards the bay, now that material is polluting 16 acres of the Bay right now," said Whalen.
The first phase of construction will consist of demolishing Ashland's old wastewater treatment plant and the car barn building.
"It also includes excavation of soils that are contaminated and those soils will be treated with a thermal process, basically burned," said BeBeau.
With the demolition and construction locals can expect some noise and traffic.
"We're going to try to respect the neighborhoods as much as we can and work with the neighbors as much as we can," said BeBeau.
The city is in talks about what to do with the foundation once everything is bulldozed and treated.
"The waterfront is our biggest asset here," said Whalen.
Using it for concerts, adding a structured beach or maybe even a theater are just a few ideas.
"It’s gonna enhance the value of anybody's property down there," said Whalen. "We would probably be doing things that would impact the tourists industry and create more traffic here."
Public Meetings will be held Wed., March 27, 2013 about the future of the sites.
Demolition is expected to start in April.