EDITOR’S NOTE: 2013 marked a year of economic recovery, renewal and, at times, reflection in the Grand Traverse region. The following are among the top local business stories covered by the Record-Eagle in 2013.
The Hotel Indigo development is considered a harbinger for future development of the old Warehouse District in Traverse City, but the project at Hall Street and Grandview Parkway ran into delays in 2013 when cyanide was discovered in groundwater beneath the former industrial complex.
Measurements of cyanide at the Indigo site measured as high as 1,200 parts per billion on June 21. The cyanide is not a threat to public health, but those levels are considered problematic to the health of nearby Grand Traverse Bay.
“It’s significant,” said local environmental consultant Chris Grobbel. “We have rules and laws in place to prevent this type of thing because we care about the health of our waterways.”
The findings sparked an extensive scientific investigation into the source of the cyanide and what it will take to clean it up. The test results also translated into taxpayers paying a lot more to make the Indigo a reality. The Grand Traverse County Land Bank Authority secured $600,000 for on-site remediation of the cyanide as part of a brownfield redevelopment project that previously received a $1 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Land Bank Authority will seek more public dollars on Jan. 16, when officials ask for $600,000 from the Michigan Land Bank to assist the investigation.
“As you go down on the Grandview Parkway, it’s going to be the same issue,” said Jean Derenzy, deputy director of Grand Traverse County’s Planning & Development Department. “There’s water coming underneath all of those properties, and that’s what we are trying to stop so we are not having to do this again and again.”