The city of Noblesville is looking at redeveloping a former Firestone tire plant property that closed more than a decade ago, although it remains unclear what will go there.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, based in Nashville, recently donated most of the property at 1700 Division St. to the city. Bridgestone formerly operated a rubber products manufacturing facility at the site from 1936 to 2009.
The site has been vacant since 2009, when the company ceased operations in Noblesville. Since that time, there have been extensive negotiations about the city acquiring the site, Noblesville Deputy Mayor Matt Light said.
Light told the Noblesville City Council in December that municipal or nonprofit buildings could be built on the site, although he stressed that no final decisions have been made regarding any proposed redevelopment.
“We’ve contemplated various things,” Light said. “I’ve had discussions with departments and other stakeholders, but the mayor’s directive to me and the team was to first work on acquiring the site on fair terms and then we can have real conversations with stakeholders about what the future would look like.”
The redevelopment of the site marks the city’s third attempt to bring new life to the property after former Mayor John Ditslear announced plans for a dog park in 2014 that never came to fruition. In 2017, city officials also looked at the Bridgestone property for a new police headquarters that never materialized.
Bridgestone previously worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up contamination, including industrial chemical compounds of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, and other pollutants, on the property. Light told the council that there has been “extensive environmental analysis” at the site, noting that city officials are “confident in the safety of the site for use going forward.”
Noblesville City Councilman Aaron Smith said the city won’t take possession of the areas that have significant levels of contamination, noting that the most contaminated areas will remain under Firestone’s control.
“There will be ongoing remediation efforts needed for these areas and the city did not want to take on that responsibility, liability,” Smith said. “The studies by EPA, the city and outside experts show that there are not burdensome environmental issues with the areas of the site the city will take control of.”