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Jobs a big question in Buick City cleanup

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Jobs a big question in Buick City cleanup

Redevelopment stage will be work generator at old GM site, EPA officials say in Flint

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

Flint -- Citizens attending a meeting Wednesday on the planned cleanup of the old Buick City site were more interested in the jobs that might be created than in the reclamation itself.

The Buick City cleanup effort is part of an $836 million plan to prepare 90 former GM sites in 14 states for economic development. It targets almost four dozen Michigan properties, including Willow Run and Pontiac Assembly.

Flint has been particularly hard hit by GM plant closings, so it's not surprising that residents are eager to see replacements for some of the jobs that were lost when Buick City was shuttered.

The initial cleanup, starting next year, will result in only a few dozen short-term jobs, said Stephen Montle, Flint's Green Cities coordinator.

"The real win here is achieving the cleanup so we can move into phase two: the redevelopment," Montle said. "That's where the real jobs-driver is."

Redevelopment of the reclaimed site by investors and businesses could lead to hundreds of jobs -- maybe 1,000, he said.

"This is one of the elements necessary to transform our economy," said Mayor Dayne Walling.

Said Flint resident Quincy Murphy, 36: "I'd like something to be put together for training so we'll be eligible for those jobs."

Cleanup will be financed by the unwanted assets that GM left behind in bankruptcy, through what is now called Motors Liquidation Co.

About 100 people attended the meeting on the campus of Mott Community College, asking questions about how the cleanup will be conducted.

About 900 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be dug up and loaded onto trucks and hauled to landfills, Environmental Protection Agency officials explained, and steam or soap can be injected into the ground to break up oils under the surface.

Hydrocarbons can be extracted from the water and loaded onto trucks and possibly burned, said George Hamper of the EPA's Chicago office.

Buick City, which was shuttered in 1999, is first on the list of sites to be reclaimed.

The EPA has approved a cleanup budget of $5 million to $7 million for a 230-acre southern portion of the 452-acre site.

The Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce has been trying to lure a private investor to build a facility where goods would be transferred from road to rail.

Motors Liquidation spokesman Steven Blow said nothing has been finalized in discussions with private developers.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100617/AUTO01/6170375/1148/Jobs-a-big-question-in-Buick-City-cleanup#ixzz0r7DWF5XB

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