Superfund site is featured at national conference in Dallas

"My sense is this is one of the most complex and largest undertakings for Superfund redevelopment."

Stephen A. Heavener

Front Royal-Warren County economic development director

By Diane Hartson

The Avtex Fibers Superfund site and its planned future as on "eco-industrial park" was featured at a national conference on polluted sites.

The presentation at the National Brownfields Conference in Dallas last week is a sign of how the project is beginning to receive national attention, said Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Director Stephen A. Heavener.

Heavener attended the conference along with County Attorney Douglas W. Napier.

"I think it was fabulous," Heavener said. "There are 1,300 Superfund sites, about 150 have been redeveloped but most are small, 20- to- 50 acre sites. My sense is this is one of the most complex and largest undertakings for Superfund redevelopment. Thats why all eyes are on us."

The authority will soon own the 500-acre site.

The eastern half of grounds will be developed into a business park while the western half will be used for recreation and conservation.

The eastern half also will include soccer fields designed with a $100,000 National Soccer Federation Foundation grant.

The business park will use sustainable development, which ensures that the reuse fits in with the community and that the technologies involved conserve energy and other resources.

That will start with the renovation of the front office building on Kendrick Lane, a project expected to start this winter, Heavener said.

"We want that building to be a showcase itself because of the national exposure were going to get," he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is using Avtex as a demonstration of what can be done in cleaning up and reusing Superfund sites. Avtex is one of 10 such sites across the nation that received $100,000 EPA grants for redevelopment efforts.

Local efforts were presented at a session on recycling Superfund sites, Heavener said.

William G. Cutler, remediation project manager for FMC Corp., made the presentation.

His company has taken over the cleanup efforts at Avtex.

Cutler spoke of the history of the site, the redevelopment plan created two years ago and the authoritys plan to take ownership of the site to coordinate reuse.

About 2,400 people attended the conference, which featured appearances by EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner and Assistant Administrator Timothy Fields Jr.

"This is one of the largest if not the largest Superfund site in the middle of a comprehensive redevelopment," Heavener said. "Its unique with

the integration of soccer, open space and the 155-acre, state of the art business park."

The use of sustainable development to create what Heavener called an "eco-industrial park" will make the Avtex business park unique, he said.

"Its the prudent, environmentally sound thing to do with a site with such a history. And it will raise our exposure to the kinds of companies were trying to attract anyway," he said.

Biotechnology and renewable energy business top the list of wished-for companies to locate to the business park, he said.