Long Creek leaders to decide fate of old mill property

Long Creek's industrial land is cluttered with debris, including remnants of a defunct sawmill. The Eagle/DAVID CARKHUFF

LONG CREEK - At a meeting 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, the Long Creek City Council will consider results of a public-opinion survey asking whether the city should buy back the Emerald International Inc.-owned sawmill site.

At a Jan. 22 meeting, councilors agreed to distribute surveys to about 126 registered voters who live in the city. Surveys were due back to the city by Feb. 6, and tabulation was due to be completed this week prior to the council meeting. The meeting was postponed a week.

The survey states: "The council is ready to make a final decision on whether or not to repurchase the real property the city sold to Emerald International Inc. The city sold the property located at the old Blue Mountain Forest Products location to Emerald International in September 1997 with the understanding that Emerald would construct and operate a forest products manufacturing facility at that location. Emerald has failed to do so. The city's agreement with Emerald gives the city the opportunity to repurchase the property."

Originally, Hudspeth owned the 17.5-acre mill site, but later the land was willed to the city for minimal closing costs. Then, Blue Mountain Forest Products leased the land from the city. On May 23, 1996, the Blue Mountain Forest Products sawmill closed, and the equipment was auctioned. About two years later, Emerald International Inc. bought the property from the city.

As the only industrially zoned property in Grant County with unlimited water, sewer and road access, the Emerald site could help Long Creek out of severe economic problems, city leaders agreed.

For more information, call the Long Creek City Hall at 421-3601.

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