Ford plant demolition passes zoning muster

A plan to demolish the Ford assembly plant in St. Paul has won approval from the city's zoning committee, a key step toward reusing the site.

The plant quit making Ranger pickup trucks a year ago, and the auto maker has been developing a phased plan to tear down the century-old plant.

The city's zoning committee approved the plan yesterday, after weighing concerns raised by neighbors about noise, traffic and dust.

Gaius Nelson, chair of the city's zoning committee, says Ford addressed those issues, and will limit demolition operations to weekdays and has a plan to help contain the disruption.

"What we looked at has a horizon of actual work being done, that could go as long as six and a half years. Originally, they were looking at committing to having everything done in five years, but part of that was extended to keep a little bit more flexibility in the plan," Nelson.

The demolition will leave vacant land, expected to be purchased by a developer for new construction. It isn't clear yet, though, what might replace the plant.

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