Star Lake steel mill to be demolished

The machine shop at the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. site, Route 3, Star Lake, is among six that have been torn down. Another 20 will be removed in the coming Phase 2 of the project. (Photo provided)

STAR LAKE — An Albany firm has been hired to clear out asbestos and tear down the remaining buildings at the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. site.

During a special board meeting Monday night, St. Lawrence County legislators authorized signing a $1,162,000 contract with Aktor Corp. to demolish and remove buildings at the 58-acre site off Route 11.

The resolution also authorizes Legislature Chairman Kevin Acres, R-Madrid, to sign the required air monitoring contract associated with the project.

Last year, nine buildings were torn down at the site, leaving 20 to be removed, said Mark Hall, a member of the county Industrial Development Agency and town of Fine resident.

“I’m anticipating it will be midsummer before we get going again,” Hall said. “We’re really looking forward to putting this project behind us and hopefully, moving on to redevelopment.”

Tape indicates the danger of asbestos at the Jones and Laughlin iron ore processing facility as Dan's Hauling & Demolition employees tear down a building at the J&L site Tuesday in Star Lake. Phase 2 of the project will begin this year. (Photo provided — Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times)

Hall said $1,715,000 has been secured to begin the second phase of the abatement and demolition project.

“If everything goes well, we should have enough to tear down all of the remaining buildings,” he said.

The Phase I demolition work was handled by Dan’s Hauling, an Albany firm which did not bid for Phase II.

The project has five major partners including St. Lawrence County, which took title to the property. Other partners include the Industrial Development Agency, the Development Authority of the North Country, the town of Clifton and the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corp.

Earlier this year, the county Legislature agreed to spend up to $8,400 to hire an appraiser and a geologist to determine the property’s value, including mineral deposits that may help attract a developer who could return the site to productive use.

The property is among the few parcels in the Adirondack Park that are classified for industrial use, and officials are hoping that classification will spur activity at the site.

The first phase of the remediation project began in the fall of 2016 and extended through 2017. The work cost $588,000 and included hazardous-waste abatement and demolishing 11 buildings.

For the second phase, funding sources include a $500,000 Restore New York Empire State Development Grant awarded to the town of Clifton and a $500,000 grant awarded to St. Lawrence County from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Hall said an additional $300,000 is expected from the National Grid Brownfield Program.

The third phase will include demolishing any remaining buildings as well as tunnel remediation and pipe removal.

A re-use framework document has been created through an EPA program called Superfund Redevelopment Initiative.