Plans for former smelter site considered at Nov. 16 County Commission meeting

The County Commission is holding a special meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 for a presentation on the final land use plan for the former smelter site also known as Operable Unit 2, which includes the city golf course and further east where the old stack and refinery once sat.

Water and Environmental Technologies, or WET, has been working on the plan since 2017 and in October released the final draft of the plan.

Amphitheater, ski hill proposed for Black Eagle area

The county was awarded a grant in 2017 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and they contracted with WET to facilitate community meetings, develop a conceptual land-use plan and explore long term management options for the property.

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.

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This portion of the projects follows the previous report finalized in 2019 for Art Higgins Memorial Park and trail access and connectivity.

The OU2 report includes three different land use options that were ranked on recreational benefits, construction costs, maintenance costs and compatibility with the Superfund remedy.

Draft plans for former smelter site include trails, mountain bike area, archery, folf and more

During the meeting, commissioners will make a final selection of one of the conceptual land use options to be presented to the EPA and ARCO for consideration during their cleanup and remediation efforts on the site.

These three plans for OU2 have been presented multiple times in public meetings since 2018.

After than, two related projects have been proposed and during a March 8 special meeting, were presented to the public.

Those proposed projects include the Smokestack Amphitheater from Ryan Buffington of TD&H Engineering and a small ski hill from George Willett of Showdown.

Commissioners opted not to include those project proposals in the conceptual land use plans.

For more background, see our previous coverage:

County receives additional EPA funding toward researching options for former smelter site

County moving forward with plans for former smelter, park in Black Eagle

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

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