Beltline Acquisitions Info and FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the city taking the property from the owner without compensation?
A: No, the law requires the property owner be compensated an amount determined by a third-party appraiser based on the property’s condition, location, and other factors. The City will be paying $155,000 for the box factory property unless the circuit court determines that a different amount should be paid.
Q: The Beltline Redevelopment Plan mentions an Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation Facility. Does this ordinance approve anything like that?
A: No, the two ordinances on Tuesday’s agenda regarding the Beltline Neighborhood are only about gaining property and have nothing attached referencing any construction projects. The City has no jurisdiction to construct, maintain or fund a rehabilitation facility. That facility is included in the Beltline Redevelopment Plan because the firm who worked on the plan assessed that Fairmont needs such a facility and saw is a nice blank spot on the map and said “Maybe here.”
In reality, the City does not recommended such a facility to be located in that location. It was a concern of nearby stakeholders and the City has other plans for that lot. The lot is being donated to the City and Council will consider accepting the donation at Tuesday’s meeting. However, any plans to construct anything on that lot are probably 5 years or more down the road pending planning, design, bidding and construction.
Q: You’re going to tear down the old Box Factory, right?
A: Yes, if the City acquires the property, we’ve deemed the Box Factory beyond repair and rehabilitation and the structure will be demolished. The source of the funding for the demolition has not yet been determined, but the funding is there whether it be grant-funded or budgetary.
Q: Is the property contaminated? Is it safe for kids to be around?
A: Because of the historical uses of the property, it is likely to contain contaminates that would pose some risk to the public. As part of the redevelopment, the City will work with environmental professionals to eliminate risk to the public and create safe, quality spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Q: Did the City play a role in the closure of Helmick Corporation?
A: No. The City had a positive relationship with the leadership at Helmick Corporation and advocated for the company to remain operating. It is unfortunate that Helmick Corporation has closed, but the reasons for that closure are out of the City’s control.
Q: How long is this going to take?
A: That depends. Various parts of the project will be able to be implemented sooner than others. Demolition of the Box Factory and construction of the West Fork River Rail Trail would likely start and potentially finish in 2024. Other parts of the project, such as the recreational fields and other amenities may be more long-term goals and collaborations with Marion County Schools, MCPARC, and other partners.
Q: Why does the City never finish any projects?
A: It is true that the City is currently undertaking several large projects, such as the West Fork River Trail Extension and the Norwood Universal Accessibility Park. Both projects are moving forward, although slower than the staff and public would prefer. This is mostly because of the time it takes to do property acquisitions.
The City of Fairmont is still waiting for the transfer of land from Novelis to begin the Norwood Park project. Novelis has been a great corporate partner and will complete the transfer to the City in the near future.
The West Fork River Trail Extension / Rail Trail Connector Project is awaiting the Box Factory acquisition so that the final route can be designed and implemented from Norway Trestle to the Beltline Neighborhood.
As far as projects the City has recently completed or implemented, consider the following:
- A new sidewalk on Locust Avenue.
- New fences for the sports fields at Windmill Park.
- New basketball court at Windmill Park.
- An on-street trail route stretching through the City.
- A new banner program across the Gateway Connector, downtown, and the Southside area.
- The first part of a neighborhood signage program.
- A mural on Monroe Street and Southside.
- New signage for Morgantown Mini Park.
Above is not a complete list of projects from all departments but does reflect most community development projects within the City.
A New Concept
Since we've had residents voice their concerns over the concept laid out in the Beltline Redevelopment Plan, we've decided to put together an updated site plan for the two major properties being considered in the Beltline Neighborhood. Below is that plan that gives a better idea of what the City has in mind for the area.
Why the former Box Factory needs to be demolished
When the City first began shaping concepts for the Beltline Redevelopment Plan, there were ideas of rehabilitating the Box Factory into something new and beneficial for the public. However, upon closer inspection by City Staff, it's obvious the structure is not safe for anyone to be in or around.
Below are some photos by City Staff outlining the dire condition of the structure.