Good news and better news were delivered on Monday to the Adams County commissioners about the former Decatur Casting site on Dayton Ave.
Larry Macklin, executive director of the Adams County Economic Development Corp. and the person who has been overseeing the cleanup and the marketing of the old Casting area, told the commissioners that the most recent technical analysis of the location found it does not have materials that pose a threat to humans or the environment.
He also said a business is seriously considering that 6.8-acre site for development, since it is on a rail line and has been zoned for industrial use. "A party is really interested in the site" and another firm is likewise looking at it," Macklin said.
The commissioners agreed to send a request for a site-status letter from the Indiana Financial Authority (IFA), which operates the brownfields program in Indiana. "Brownfields" is the name for areas that have had actual or potential environmental problems that require governmental attention.
Macklin said the Casting site is "closer to closure" through the brownfields program after a Phase II environmental assessment that involved seven groundwater wells dug for monitoring, 22 soil samples taken, and use of ground-penetrating radar. That study found the location is "relatively safe," he added.
That assessment, according to Macklin, was done largely through the fiscal aid of Indiana and Michigan Power, Northern Indiana Public Service Co., CenturyLink, and the Northeast Indiana Fund, since state money was unavailable.
Macklin said he is "pretty pleased with this report," which showed minor contamination that means the location is suitable for business and industry, but not good enough to build houses there.
He noted that if the IFA agrees with the environmental assessment, the marketing of the former Casting site would occur with "restrictive covenants" regarding the remaining contaminants.
He said the IFA might respond in 10 to 14 days and he will keep the commissioners abreast of developments.
Macklin also said that once the Decatur Casting site project is done, he wants to take on the adjacent and equally-abandoned General Electric location, which is twice as large: 13 acres.
The two areas combined are 20 acres of prime land with railway access that could have a lot of potential uses, he indicated, especially if GE ever relinquishes ownership of its land, which was home to a busy plant from 1920 to 1987.