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Ford plant demolition to start in late winter or early spring

The landscape of St. Paul’s Highland Park will change dramatically in a few months, as demolition teams begin knocking down the buildings at the old Ford plant that produced millions of vehicles since 1925.

The plant was making Ford Ranger pickup trucks when it closed in December 2011, after 86 years in business.

But officials have known since 2006 that it would be closed, so there’s been much city and neighborhood planning on how to shape the reuse of the plant’s 22 acres of prime real estate on the Mississippi River.

On Monday night, a presentation was made of the Ford Zoning Framework Study, an in-depth look at how city zoning tools might be used in reworking the site under five scenarios.

Ultimately, the property’s use will be determined by who buys the site from Ford, so city officials want to be prepared to help focus the process and make sure it’s compatible with the community vision.

At the meeting, officials said that workers are preparing the interiors of buildings on the site for demolition, “with structural demolition expected to begin in late winter or early spring, depending on the severity of the upcoming winter season.”

City officials plan to update a demolition website as work continues, to keep neighbors and interested parties up to date on the progress.

More environmental tests and assessments will take place after demolition, with the final evaluations expected to be finished by early 2014.

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