Written by John Plestina
The Wolf Point City Council approved a call for bids for the cleanup of the former site of Gysler Furniture and Appliance Monday, Aug. 18.
A fast-moving fire on March 10 destroyed the two adjacent Gysler buildings on the 100 block of Anaconda Street, leaving portions of block walls and other charred remains, some of which are believed to contain asbestos.
City officials have been working with Great Northern Development Corporation and environmental consultant Newfields of Missoula to clean up the site and redevelop it.
The council approved a plan in June for the city to purchase the property for $1 and get it cleaned up under the federal Brownfields program at no municipal cost or liability.
The site is expected to qualify as a designated Brownfield site where expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the property might be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. The designation would make the city eligible for funding through a revolving loan fund and/or federal grant funding for remediation and clean-up of the site.
While the buildings dated to the early 1900s, remodeling of both structures during the 1960s included roofing and flooring materials made of asbestos, which the fire this year rendered as “friable asbestos,” which is any building material containing more than 1 percent asbestos that could be pulverized or powdered by hand pressure, including asbestos that is damaged by fire, and is subject to federal regulation.
“[The Gysler cleanup project] is moving along very well,” mayor Chris Dschaak said. He is hoping to have bids back this fall.
The transfer of the real estate has not happened. Dschaak said the city is waiting to be sure that government funding for the cleanup is guaranteed.