Complete clearing of the old Hutch property in downtown Loudon is projected to be done by next month.
Complete Demolition Services Inc., began work in the summer and was set for a Jan. 10 finish. Jack Qualls, Loudon County Economic Development Agency executive director, said Monday at the Loudon Utilities Board workshop that has been pushed back to Feb. 10 due a change order. Punch list items still must be completed.
“We’re just looking at a couple of items that need to be addressed as far as the project. Removing some of the existing old handrails down on the site,” Qualls said. “Also going to be probably installing a fence around the water tank itself just for safety purposes.”
Ty Ross, city and LUB manager, sees positives for the property’s future.
“It’s the coming together of the plan and the plan was to clear the table so that new development might come in and set the table,” he said.
The city has been speaking with “multiple economic development clients” about using different acreage amounts. Ross estimates the property at 12 acres.
Part of the property could be used for a new courthouse annex. Loudon County Commission during its January meeting moved forward with seeking evaluations of its options, including using part of the land on the old Loudon County Courthouse property and the old Bacon Creamery site on the Hutch property.
“The governing bodies that I work for consider that a plus and they would definitely cooperate, if not bend over backwards to help,” Ross said. “... I can’t speak to the plans of the county commissioners. All I can do is a be a helper if they request aid.”
However, even if plans don’t pan out, Ross believes the land has promise.
LUB board member Bart Watson agreed.
“I think it’s just going to be an open canvas to see what it’s going to add to the community,” Watson said. “I mean the options are going to be endless. We can only be better because it was just a bunch of old, dilapidated buildings and now it’s open space.”
The city has asked Complete Demolition Services to take down a dilapidated building beside the water treatment plant that city officials are referring to as the “Grove Street property.” Qualls said a change order was submitted.
The contract value for all the demolition work is $566,000.
“The house was actually acquired years ago when the water treatment plant expanded and they kept the house standing and rented the house out to tenants,” Ross said. “The home has reached a condition where it’s not safe to have, so the tenants have exited and we’re going to demolish the house and just make it part of the overall landscape of the water treatment plant.”