Plainwell Paper Mill Among National Sites Regarded for its High Redevelopment Potential
Historic mill property in downtown Plainwell on the banks of the Kalamazoo River is poised for redevelopment.
Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a list of 31 Superfund sites with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential. The list easily directs interested developers and potential owners to Superfund sites with redevelopment potential, but does not necessarily include all possible sites with similar potential.
Among those with the most redevelopment potential is the Plainwell Paper Mill in Plainwell, Michigan. The mill has been a vital component of Michigan’s economy, history and heritage for more than a century. Today it is part of a larger Superfund site that includes five disposal areas, four other paper mill properties, an 80-mile segment of the Kalamazoo River and a 3-mile stretch of Portage Creek.
EPA selected a final remedy for the site in 2015. Through local government leadership and coordination with EPA, state agencies and the site’s responsible party, cleanup and redevelopment are both moving forward. And now the City of Plainwell is now entertaining ideas for the sites for the sites ultimate reuse.
Local zoning allows for commercial, administrative, financial, civic, cultural, residential, entertainment, and recreational reuse. The site is part of Plainwell’s Central Business District (CBD) and downtown Plainwell lies immediately to the east. The population within a 0.5 mile is 1,064 people and 46,654 people within 2.5 miles.
The Plainwell Paper Mill is 35 acres and is listed on National Historic Registry. All major utilities are available. Current uses on the site include the renovated former mill facilities that hosts Plainwell City Hall, commercial office space and a municipal public safety building. Future plans call for additional commercial, recreational and public service uses at the site, with some land use restrictions expected on parts of the site, after completion of cleanup activities.
The City of Plainwell purchased the property in 2006 and, to date, nearly $3 million in grants have been secured to demolish unwanted structures and redevelop a new entrance to access the Mill.