Public meeting on draft plans for former smelter site set for Nov. 14

Cascade County’s contractor, Water & Environmental Technologies, has assessed options for bicycle/pedestrian connections and other park improvements at Art Higgins Memorial Park/Black Eagle Park along with future land uses for the former ACM Smelter and Refinery Site.

The public is invited to a meeting on Nov. 14 to review and comment on the draft plans. For more information contact Deputy Public Works Director, Jim Ekberg at 454-6905.

The meeting is 6-8 p.m. at the Black Eagle Community Center, 2332 Smelter Ave.

Earlier this year, Cascade County Commissioners awarded a contract to WET using grant funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

One of the goals in developing plans for future development and land use is to offer suggestions to the EPA for their cleanup plan and ideally, reduce costs if some development ideas can be implemented through the cleanup process.

County Commissioner Jane Weber said the commission has also tasked WET to look at Operable Unit 2, which includes the city golf course and further east where the old stack and refinery once sat. WET will work with the public, city and county agencies and private landowners to develop a land management master plan concept for that area.

Elizabeth Erickson, the WET project manager, and her team have been meeting with groups who have ideas for the land and held a public meeting in September to solicit ideas and concerns.

Water park among crowd favorites for ideas for former smelter stack, but cost could make it unlikely

Weber said that plan will be useful in future development to avoid implementing one idea and then realize things are laid out improperly for adding other land uses.

Another task for WET, which Weber thinks will be the most difficult, is to determine what kind of long-term sustainability exists for the land use plans, in terms of managing and maintaining whatever is developed in that area.

Plans for potential future land use can also help the EPA determine what levels of cleanup are needed and how they want to create their remediation action plan.

Erickson said that often the remediation and cleanup plans are done long before any land use plans are done, but in this case, the timing was optimal to start land use planning first.

Some waste will be left in place, so Erickson said they can design around that or if the county wants certain development in certain areas, they could potentially create cleanup plans around those plans.