City leaders announced plans to clean up the former Dixie Yarns factory site in Chattanooga neighborhood Lupton City.
"This is a 12-acre property in the middle of a neighborhood," Mayor Andy Berke said, according to a prepared statement. "By working together with the neighborhood association and City Councilman [Jerry] Mitchell, we developed a strategy to fully clean up this important property so that it can return to being a centerpiece of the neighborhood instead of a dangerous eyesore."
Cleanup is slated to begin in late summer.
In the 1920s, Lupton City was built around the former Dixie Yarns factory, located in the middle of the neighborhood.
The 12 acres that make up the Dixie Yarns site, which would later become R.L. Stowe Mills, was once the crown jewel of the neighborhood.
It provided jobs and a place for the community to gather, according to a news release.
In 2012, an out-of-town LLC bought the property and began demolition, but then stopped abruptly and left behind a potentially dangerous site.
In 2015, Mitchell and the Berke administration began to work toward a solution to clear the land and improve the quality of life for Lupton City residents.
The property defaulted and became a back tax property in 2016, allowing the city of Chattanooga to move forward and execute a complete cleanup of the site, according to a news release.
"It was a lengthy process, but the result will be worth it," said Mitchell, who represents District 2, where the site is located. "We cut through red tape and more red tape. But the neighborhood leaders have been there every step of the way—advocating for their community—and Mayor Berke and his team worked hard to find a solution."
The cleanup process will take "some time," but leaders are committed to it, he also said.
Berke also used the announcement as an opportunity to highlight the importance of rehabilitating Chattanooga’s brownfield sites.
"As this property will demonstrate, brownfields can be an important source of economic and community benefit when they are remediated and added back to the tax rolls," he said. "Chattanooga is growing. It will be critical that we reuse sites like this, making more land available to market to potential employers if we are going to move Chattanooga forward."
Over the next few months, and in conjunction with the budgeting process, city officials will develop a plan to prioritize and remediate brownfields by working with existing partners, such as BrightBridge.
The plan is expected to include details regarding the prioritization process, as well as recommendations for funding sources both public and private.
Funds for this project will be allocated in the upcoming city of Chattanooga fiscal year 2017 and 2018 capital budget.