County chooses preferred land use plan for old smelter site
County commissioners voted unanimously to select their preferred land use option for the former smelter site.
The county will submit this plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and site owner ARCO for review as they work to clean up and remediate the site.
One of the goals of developing future development and land use plans is to provide the EPA with suggestions for its clean-up plan and ideally to reduce costs if some development ideas can be put into practice. implemented through the clean-up process, which will likely take several more years.
Most of the site, around 427 acres, is owned by ARCO Environmental Remediation, which manages the remediation work, and there can be no assurance that the company will use the county’s suggestions for future use of the site.
During several public meetings over the past few years, several officials and consultants have stated that recreational uses are preferred for the site in terms of lower maintenance costs and because it requires less ground disturbance, which reduces the amount of remediation work required.
Plans of the old foundry discussed at county committee meeting on November 16
Commissioners voted to select Option C, with caveats that the Boston Barn be considered a future interpretive center and recognition of the proposed archery range on a private plot that could be relocated elsewhere.
The Boston barn was used by ARCO’s predecessor, the Boston and Montana Consolidated Copper and Silver Mining Company, for horses and firefighters, according to the City-County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission.
Over the past several months, HPAC has made saving the Boston Barn, which sits on city property, one of its top priorities and has committed $ 10,000 to the effort.
At the November 10 HPAC meeting, County Commissioner Don Ryan said the county was not interested in supporting the project “because it’s the city’s.”
County commissioner Joe Briggs said at the Nov. 16 meeting that he preferred Option C and that, without knowing what any future funding would look like, he wanted the plan to include items that were inexpensive to maintain.
Water and Environmental Technologies, or WET, has been working on the plan since 2017 and released the final version of the plan in October.
Amphitheater, ski resort proposed for the Black Eagle sector
The county received a grant in 2017 from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and they contracted with WET to facilitate community meetings, develop a conceptual land use plan, and explore options. long-term management for the good.
County approves $ 95,000 contract to continue planning for former Black Eagle smelter site
This part of the projects follows on from 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 have been ranked based on recreational benefits, construction costs, maintenance costs, and compatibility with the Superfund remedy.
Preliminary plans for the former foundry site include trails, a mountain biking area, archery, folf and more
These three plans for OU2 have been presented multiple times in public meetings since 2018.
Subsequently, two related projects were proposed and at a special meeting on March 8, were presented to the public.
These proposed projects include the Smokestack Amphitheater by Ryan Buffington from TD&H Engineering and a small ski slope by George Willett from Showdown.
The commissioners chose not to include these project proposals in the conceptual land use plans.
For more information, see our previous coverage:
County receives additional EPA funding to research options for old smelter site
County moves forward with plans for old smelter and park in Black Eagle
Public meeting on the draft plans for the site of the former foundry scheduled for November 14
Waterpark among crowd favorites for ideas for the old foundry pile, but the cost could make it unlikely