CHESTER - The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, owner of the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor Pottery, is planning a community celebration for Dec. 5 to mark completion of the demolition and remediation of the site.
The century-old factory, considered a health and safety hazard, had been idled since 1981. It sat empty for more than three decades before being acquired by the BDC in July 2011 for $125,000.
The event, which will include lunch as well as an opportunity for residents to inspect artifacts salvaged from the site during the demolition project, will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Chester City Hall. Those who wish will also be able to visit the site.
Residents are encouraged to bring their favorite photo of the old pottery site or the factory itself to the luncheon. The owner of the most interesting photo, as judged by the event organizers, will receive a framed artifact from the excavation.
BDC Executive Director Pat Ford, meanwhile, said crews are completing some last-minute detailing, "but all the buildings are down."
"They're balancing the site," he said, explaining that as the business grew over the years, the expansion was done in "tiers." While the tiers make it easy for prospects to visualize how the site would look subdivided, he said leveling the site is perhaps even more valuable - allowing prospects to see the potential of the site as a whole.
"We asked them to level the site so prospects can see its value in its entirety, in addition to looking at opportunities to possibly subdivide the site," he said. "They're using existing materials (such as crushed brick and earth mounds from other parts of the property) in combination with fill material they're bringing in from off-site."
Ford said they continue to field inquiries for the site's re-use, though he declined to say who is interested, saying only that "we can't share that information."
"Generally speaking, the inquiries are related to the energy field," he said. "We don't want to get any more specific than that; the prospects are all related to energy and transportation logistics."
Ford also said the state will be adding the Taylor, Smith & Taylor site to its property inventory in the very near future.
"They have a team that they dispatch throughout the state to photograph and inventory sites, put them on the state website and keep it inventories for national and international prospects," he said. "Now that the site is almost clean, we're going to schedule them to come up to Chester to photograph and collect data on the site so they can profile it and get it in their inventory (listing)."