After years of waiting, the Safie Mill site is getting closer to its demolition day.
On Wednesday, County Planner James Armstrong was busy writing up a demolition bid for the old mill site in East Rockingham and the tract previously owned by Nordstrom LLC.
One tract of the old mill is owned by Holly Wright who is working on cleaning up his part of the property.
“It’s great,” said Wright about the county moving forward.
Wright said he and his demolition team had been halted recently by the weather, but when there’s a clear day they get out there and work.
“We work at it when we can,” Wright said.
Cleanup on the Nordstrom tract has been stalled for years and during the Richmond County Board of Commissioners meeting in December, the board voted to declare the site a nuisance and issue an order of abatement.
Nordstrom LLC was then given 15 days to clean up the site, or hand it over to the county.
At the end of the 15 days, Armstrong sent Nordstrom LLC a Notice of Violation to let them know they still had time to move forward with the cleanup before the county took further action. Armstrong said he received some vague e-mails from one of the Nordstrom brothers and then a lawyer representing them, about possibly working out a deal.
Armstrong said he was open to working out an agreement, but never heard anything back, which is why the county has decided to move forward with putting out for bids.
“We’re continuing to move forward as the commissioners have instructed us to do,” added County Manager Rick Sago.
The demolition will be paid for by a Cole Foundation grant the county received to clean up East Rockingham.
“The Cole Foundation money is supposed to be used to clean up East Rockingham and that won’t happen until we clean this up,” said commissioner chairman Kenneth Robinette during the November commissioner’s meeting.
The ordeal surrounding the Safie site led commissioners to rewrite an ordinance that requires anyone wishing to get a demolition permit to obtain a letter of credit, which will impose a penalty on any landowner who stops a cleanup effort before it’s complete.
Staff writer Eren Tataragasi can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 19 or at email@example.com.