An old paper mill that once stood tall in downtown Rockton has finally been brought down. After years of negotiations Sonoco Products has demolished its vacant building in Rockton.
"What a terrible first impression of our beautiful village it is to see an old abandoned industrial building," said Village President Dale Adams.
Sonoco Products shut down its Rockton location back in 2008. The company left taking its business up north and leaving behind a 100-year-old rotting building.
"We are concerned with them being there," said Adams. "Anything with the site really hurts development or continued development of downtown Rockton."
Last year village trustees declared the old run down building a public health hazard. It filed more than 80 violations against the property, prompting the Environmental Protection Agency to get involved. The EPA took soil and water samples and found high concentrations of mercury, lead and other dangerous chemicals at the site.
Last week Sonoco finally took action and begun demolishing the building. Leaving the door open for village trustees to turn the property into something beneficial.
"Anything really commercial or a high-end office would really be a great use," said Tricia Diduch Village of Rockton Planning and Development Administrator. "Anything that will help generate some people to downtown."
The village is hoping to turn the property into anything from a boutique to possibly Rockton's first hotel.
"It would be a benefit not only to the village with sales tax revenue, but to the other businesses in town that could benefit from the increased in tourism," said Adams.
Another court date is set for Sonoco for July 17th. Adams says he hopes it will finally bring resolution to the old paper mill.