Updated: 07/22/2014 7:00 PM
Created: 07/22/2014 12:02 PM KSTP.com
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Tuesday announced steps the city will take to make sure the former Ford assembly site is marketable.
Following nearly 86 years of operations, production at the site ended in December 2011. Ford shut the plant due to declining sales of Ford Rangers, and the site will now be redeveloped for housing, office and retail space.
On Tuesday, Coleman joined Ford Site Manager Michael Hogan and St. Paul City Council member Chris Tolbert to talk about what needs to be done before the site is marketed to prospective developers next year.
Coleman said his hope is that the 125 acres along the Mississippi River reemerge as a “connected, livable and green site” that “serves as a model for a 21st Century Community.” Coleman said they were hoping to attract the “right” developer by doing some legwork before it even goes on the market.
"We stand on this site, understanding fully that this might be the best site in the country to build a 21st century community that will serve the city of St. Paul and this region for generations to come," Coleman said.
The next step is environmental experts determining what pollutants exactly are in the ground, underneath concrete slabs. Manufacturers have been making cars there for nearly 90 years, and no one knows for sure how contaminated the soil is. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is overseeing the process, and Ford is paying for it.
"We need to form many partnerships, whether it's the current partnership we have with Ford, the MPCA, the state and the city, to ensure that this site is clean from the pollution that could be here," said Chris Tolbert, St. Paul City Councilman.
"Ford Motor Company looks forward to working with the city of St. Paul, and the state and county agencies, to move the process forward to a successful redevelopment," Ford Site Manager Michael Hogan said.
Crews will also have to rezone the site, identify potential employers and research mass transit options. The city supports a combination of commercial and residential zoning.