An unnamed developer has expressed more interest in developing a portion of Sewalls Island after recently taking a tour of the scenic isle in the Black River.
Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Center, said he took a group of people from a development company for a tour of the 28.7-acre site.
They were very interested, he said. Five people looked at it and they all liked it.
The potential developer has a specific plan in mind for the site, but Mr. Rutherford would not disclose what it was. In the past, city and WLDC officials have mentioned the island could accommodate housing.
This is in the early going, Mr. Rutherford said.
The developer would not be able to begin working on the project until 2013, he said.
Kenneth A. Mix, the citys planning and community development coordinator, said it will take that long to weed through some final environmental issues anyway. The state Department of Environmental Conservation still needs to give final approval following a project to remove contaminated soil that was completed last year.
He and Mr. Rutherford also still are working on some details to allow the WLDC, also known as the Watertown Trust, to obtain an option on the site.
During the meeting, the developer also expressed an interest in having some of the island remain green space, something that the city already was planning, Mr. Rutherford said.
The city plans to retain some of the island for other development and possibly create a park and hiking trail on it.
The city wants to maintain a 50-foot strip around part of the islands shore that could be used for potential water-related commercial businesses, such as a restaurant or kayaking business. The city also wants to keep a rail line that runs through it that could be used for hiking trails. The city took the property because of unpaid back taxes from Black Clawson Co., which closed its foundry in 1991 and demolished the buildings in 2001.
About 10 acres could be developed. The city owns 18.6 acres of the 28.7-acre island property.
In 2007, the city received a $561,200 state DEC grant and $200,000 in federal Environmental Protection Agency funding to help rid the island of contaminated soil.