Funding nearly in place for former Lyons Falls mill demolition

LYONS FALLS — With more state funding in hand, officials have nearly lined up enough funding for final demolition work at a former paper mill here. However, some additional federal money would help seal the deal.

“Hopefully everything comes together and everything gets completed this year,” Lewis County Legislature Chairman Lawrence L. Dolhof, R-Lyons Falls, said.

The state Restore NY program earlier this week awarded the village $440,000 to assist with the demolition of old buildings at the former Lyons Falls Pulp and Paper mill off Center Street.

The Lewis County Development Corp. purchased the old mill property in 2011 in hopes of redeveloping it as the Black Moose Commerce Park; the plant was shuttered in 2001.

The Restore NY and prior grant funding — including $350,000 awarded in December to the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency as part of the annual Regional Economic Development Council awards — should nearly cover the $1.6 million cost of the final demolition, said Mr. Dolhof, also president of the development corporation. “We believe it will enable us to move forward with the final phase of the project to a high degree,” he said.

However, local development officials are still hoping federal Environmental Protection Agency funding will be awarded in May to fill a $200,000 budget gap, Mr. Dolhof said.

Work is to include removal of two more large buildings, including the old steam building, and numerous other small structures at the site. Officials have said roughly half the cost will be for asbestos removal, primarily in the steam building.

Since the EPA funding would be earmarked toward the asbestos work, the steam plant may not be removed until later in the year, particularly if asbestos contractors are busy with school projects during the summer months, Mr. Dolhof said.

However, all unusable buildings will hopefully be demolished by the end of the year, he said.

Since 2014, a majority of the massive old manufacturing building at the center of the site and several large outbuildings have been demolished in three prior phases at a total cost of $3.8 million. That includes $1.33 million from state grants and money from Lewis County, National Grid, EPA and Kruger Energy, which owns a hydroelectric facility adjacent to the site.

Once demolition of old buildings at the site is completed, the 9.4-acre parcel could be reused in several ways, including as light industrial, a mixture of small industry with recreational features or a tourism destination, consultants working with the village on a state Brownfield Opportunity Area program have said.

With a target date for demolition completion becoming more clear, officials should be able to “ramp up the marketing of the site,” Mr. Dolhof said.

“It’s not as nebulous as it was,” he said.


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