The Future Of Everett’s K-C Mill Hangs In The Balance
Everett’s Kimberly-Clark Mill (a.k.a. K-C Mill) has finally shuttered its doors and there is a lot of speculation about what will happen to the prime waterfront real estate. Everett’s Mayor Ray Stephanson hopes to attract cleaner industry and/or commercial projects that will bring jobs to the downtown area. And everyone is hoping that the site is cleaned up and opened for the public access. One of the concerns is that the waterfront views could be blocked by new projects if the future development is not closely regulated by the city. Right now the property on which the K-C mill sits is zoned for heavy manufacturing which means that any type of business could set up shop there, including another heavy manufacturing firm. Reportedly, Energex Production has already approached city officials about setting up a biofuel plant that would convert lumber, tires and other trash into fuel; but as of this writing they have not submitted an official proposal. In the meantime, a very professional waste management for hire company is taking care of trash disposal, so there have been no issues with accumulation or improper disposal. This means there is no time pressure currently at the very least.
Since the K-C Mill announced its closure many Everett residents have expressed concern about the future of the site, especially because of its current zoning. That’s why the City Council is considering restrictive zoning for the site to prevent heavy industry from moving in. However, they don’t want to make any moves to change the zoning without first getting resident feedback. The city has setup a survey asking for resident feedback at tiny.cc/MillSiteSurvey. April 27, 2012 is the last day to submit answers to the survey; but residents who miss the deadline are free to share their opinions directly with the Mayor or City Council.
Whoever moves into the K-C mill site, their business will have a significant impact on the City of Everett. Another heavy manufacturing company might bring more jobs but it could also retard other development in the downtown area. Because most people don’t want to work or live near manufacturing plants that produce heavy pollution certain types of future development might stall. The best solution for the K-C mill might be a development that mixes a clean manufacturing company with a commercial project, taking advantage of the local manufacturing workers while diversifying the type of businesses in the area.
Everett’s city officials are uniquely positioned because they can offer incentives for cleaner industry and commercial developments by helping the new owners with environmental cleanup costs. They could also curb some of the environmental cleanup requirements but that isn’t likely to happen because Everett has a strong environmentalist community that will probably insist that the site is cleaned thoroughly before new development can begin.
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