A group of Lupton City residents and neighborhood leaders on Wednesday asked that rubble at "the dangerous, half-demolished mill" be cleaned up.
The group said on Jan. 6, 2017, Mayor Andy Berke pledged $1.5 million to begin cleanup in July 2017, when the city and Hamilton County became owners of the property through unpaid taxes.
Resident Patti Mitchell said, “We don’t want more excuses about why nothing is happening day after day.
It’s unacceptable. We insist the city and county clean up this eyesore or sell it and release taxpayer money.
"Fifteen months after work was supposed to start, acres of deplorable rubble remain. We know there are chemicals on the site and that this takes time and of course we want it done right, but there is a lot of time unaccounted for where nothing has been happening out here."
The group also said, "Once a productive yarn mill at the center of a flourishing community, the wreckage is deemed a brownfield because of contaminants in the soil. Lupton City, LLC., who owned the property until 2017, abandoned it without finishing removal of the ruins."
Mark Mullins, president of the Fairfax Heights/Bagwell City Neighborhood Association, said, “For residents who have called Lupton City home for generations, the current state is like a kick in the teeth. First, we had a prospector who scrapped the site, left this dangerous mess and was not held accountable. Then, we got new owners - the city and county, funding, and they’ve neglected us just like the other guys.”
Ms. Mitchell said for brownfields, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation requires a remediation work plan before cleanup can happen. She said, “It’s no surprise that they have to submit a redevelopment plan to TDEC, but why haven’t they done that? Why did they not start developing that plan when funding was awarded?
“If you know the process and you know it’s going to take a while, why would you not take step one as soon as possible? It’s not like it was a surprise that the city and county were going to become owners of this property last year.”
The group, which has hired a public relations firm, urged residents to contact both mayors directly by email and phone and gave out their emails and phone numbers.