published Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

South Pittsburg in talks to sell old cement plant property

  • photo
    The site of the former Penn Dixie cement plant is now overrun by vegetation.
    Photo by Juliette Coughlin

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. -- City officials recently revealed they've had discussions with a lime production company that may be interested in purchasing the old Penn Dixie cement plant property.

If constructed, the facility would bring about 30 jobs to the area, officials said.

South Pittsburg City Administrator Bently Thomas said the town owns the 67-acre property in the Richard City area. He said he was contacted by a representative of the unnamed company, which he described as "one of the largest lime-producing companies in the world."

"In order for them to locate there, they would need to do environmental studies and testing to make sure there is an appropriate amount of lime there, so that it would be feasible for them to locate their facility there," he said.

Thomas said the company requested six to nine months to investigate.

"During that time, they'll do an environmental impact study to determine the environmental deficiencies, if any," he said. "That will give us a good idea of what's there and what's not there."

Regardless whether the company locates in South Pittsburg, it would give the city the results of the environmental testing worth about $20,000, officials said, and pay $10,000 for every three months it needed to complete the preliminary work.

"All that money would go toward the purchase price if they purchased the property," Thomas said. "If not, [that money] goes straight to the city."

"I would be all right with that," Mayor Mike Killian said.

At one time, the property appraised for $5,500 per acre, or about $368,000, officials said.

Killian said the town would expect that to be the purchase price if the company decides to locate in South Pittsburg.

Last week, the South Pittsburg City Commission authorized Thomas to inform the company that it may present its official proposal to the board and "it would probably be approved."

"We're not going to be out anything on this, regardless of what [they] find" as a result of the environmental study, Commissioner Charles Reynolds said.

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