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Cleaning up the property last year

What's next for the east side mill property

By Michael Butler

"Between a rock and a hard place," it's a tough place to be. And it's where Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock says the city is in cleanup negotiations with east side mill owners, Mount Vernon Pine, LLC, over the ruins at the Tallapoosa riverfront property.

There is still a lot of rubble to be cleaned up, a project that Hammock says will cost around $1 million. Property owners have halted the clean up much to the chagrin of Tallasseeans that view the eyesore on a daily basis.

"I got in touch with Tommy Hudson and asked him what's going on? Basically, I'm tired of hearing it," Hammock said. "We never dropped the lawsuit. We dropped the lawsuit with prejudice. That means we took our foot off the gas. That lawsuit is still there. We just kind of backed off as long as he was cleaning up and making progress. Well the progress has stopped.

"What's he's probably going to do when we press him is say, 'The heck with this. I'm out of here. Y'all pay the taxes on it.' The city will have to clean it up. We don't have the money. We're $16.7 million in debt."

Hammock noted that in previous conversations with Hudson that a time frame on clean up was estimated to be 18-24 months. The fire that destroyed the mill happened on May 5, 2016, now more than 24 months after the blaze. Today, the cleanup project appears to have just scratched the surface.

Hudson said that his group intends to clean up the property and have made initial measures to do so.

"We'll obviously do something with the property," he said.

Now, two years later - the quesion still remains? What and when?

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