MUSKEGON, Mich. – Neighbors and businesses in Muskegon County are getting ready for the old Sappi Paper Mill to come crumbling down this weekend after it’s blown up with explosives.
Come Sunday, Oct. 27th no one will allowed within 1000 feet of the former mill for a few hours in the morning. For the people working at Hab’s Good Eats and Treats on Lakeside Drive you can’t get much closer to the blast site.
“We’re OK with it,” said Sara Packer a manager at Hab’s restaurant. “We’re just ready for it to happen and hopefully it all goes smooth.”
Hab’s is embracing the situation. On Friday, the special of the day was a TNT sandwich for demolition day. But there is a sense of danger that isn’t being ignored by Melching Demolition, the company that owns the former mill.
“Melching is going to put semi-trucks in front of us for safety from any kind of debris that could fall this way,” said Packer. “I know they are going to do something with our windows and the ventilation systems too.”
25 homes within 500 feet of the blast site have been asked to evacuate or stay in their homes for a few hours on Sunday morning. The blast is expected to take place between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning.
“It’s going to be like three explosions in a row and that’s all we know and that we can open when it’s done,” said Packer.
According to Ken Callow, the project engineer for Melching Demolition, explosives will be placed at the base of the power house building on the side closest to the lake. The idea is to get the building to fall away from the street.
“It’s just going to be falling over and then it’s done,” said Marty Kent who lives just a block away from the plant. “A little bit of boom and your over with.”
Kent lives with her in-laws. While she’s not concerned with the explosion she can’t say the same for her mother-in-law who was busy taking pictures of the foundation in case the vibrations from the explosion caused any damage.
“They are afraid of what is going to happen because the home is over 100 years old,” she said.
The people we spoke with living around the former Sappi Mill say they are more interested in what will happen after Sunday’s explosion. We spoke with the project engineer who said demolition will continue at least through next summer and by that time they hope to have an interested developer with a vision for the future.