The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Sinclair site progresses: Asbestos-tainted piles gone; attention turns to saving 193-foot smokestack

In City Hall, Sinclair site on March 17, 2008 at 11:10 pm

The City Council has approved a final payment to contractor D.W. Zinser Co. Inc. of Walford, finishing out the $781,052 contract to remove asbestos-tainted piles of demolition debris on the site.

The piles were in place when the city purchased the former meatpacking plant in January 2007 for $4 million, $2 million of which came from a grant from the Hall Perrine Foundation in Cedar Rapids.

Public Works Director Dave Elgin notes that more demolition is ahead on the site, some of the buildings of which continue to house business tenants paying rent to the city.

Richard Luther, the city’s development operations manager, says the city now is seeking a consultant who can help advise the city on renovating and preserving the site’s 193-foot-tall smokestack. He reports that the smokestack was built in 1909, has a reinforced concrete foundation 14 feet in the ground and replaced three steel smokestacks when it went up. About 13 feet at the smokestack’s top was removed at some uncertain time in the past.

“The smokestack is a signature structure that can be seen from the downtown and along the river,” Luther says. “If it is feasible, and the council approves, preservation of the structure is a visual link to the history of this property and its importance to the community.”

Consultants have until Wednesday to submit their qualifications to compete for the smokestack work.

“We don’t have the expertise on our staff … to renovate a 100-year-old smokestack,” says Elgin.

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted by the Howard R. Green Co. of Cedar Rapids in 2006 noted that previous site investigations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources found that  hazardous substances and petroleum products had been released on the site. The Green report concluded a Phase II assessment was needed to collect and analyze soil and groundwater samples.

 Luther says that sampling will be completed this month by Howard R. Green under a $170,000 contract.

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  1. I will give you odds the Consultant will be from Minnesota. All those years of toxic waste should result in a huge clean up cost. I wonder who will pay for the clean up costs?

  2. Renovating and preserving the the Sinclair’s site’s 193-foot-tall smokestack sounds like a good Idea, it will make an interesting landmark. Food is a part of the history of Cedar Rapids and the smokestack will be statue to Beef and Pork production locally.

  3. Mr. Smith, would you be kind enough to let the public know whether the Gazette has updated this article or if it plans to do so in the near future? I’m interested in the Phase II results and how much (if any) the City will need to spend to clean up the site.

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