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Elizabethton plans to demolish old North American Rayon buildings

By Laura Halm
Published On: Feb 15 2013 04:57:50 PM CST
rayon buildings
ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. -

There are just broken windows and growing weeds at two huge vacant buildings in the heart of Elizabethton. City leaders recently decided to make the former North American Rayon buildings a thing of the past.

Deserted and damaged, two of the old North American Rayon buildings are past their prime, and city leaders are ready for a change in scenery. Both buildings will be torn down by the end of the year.

But some residents say it's a shame. "I think it's a historical site for Elizabethton. My grandma used to work there back when she was 14-years-old and that was a long time ago, so I hate to see it go," said resident Brian Disoso.

News 5 learned the buildings were bought by M and R Acquisitions out of Alabama with plans to improve the properties. "Typically what they'll [company] do is salvage what they can from the building and then from there they will take the rest to a landfill," said Jon Hartman, Director of Planning and Development.

Both buildings are considered old industrial sites and we learned the EPA determined the properties 'Brown Fields' which means there are pollutants in the ground. "The company we're working with is actually already in contact with Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to make sure that all environmental issues are taken care of," added Hartman.

But these properties do have a future, city leaders are working to bring in hotels and restaurants.

Some residents say it's time for the eyesores to be a thing of the past. "I'm ready for the buildings to come down, put something in, maybe bring a couple jobs to our town," said resident Scott Mann.

City leaders say they're working to get grant money from the EPA to do more environmental studies on the properties. Those studies will make sure the pollutants will not affect residents along with the newly constructed buildings.