RADFORD – The empty foundry property on West Main Street may soon be the site of a recycling facility if the city approves a special use permit (SUP) request from the property’s owner.
Monday, a presentation was made to council members by Tommy Bishop, who owns the foundry property and wants to operate an electronics recycling center at the site. The Radford Planning Commission has recommended approval of the SUP, and Radford City Council has set a public hearing on the matter for March 11.
Radford Trading, LLC, a company owned by Bishop and his father, purchased the foundry property in 2015 from Grede, which was the last company to operate a foundry at the site. Bishop said Monday the company hopes to eventually make a $5 million investment in the property.
“This plan is consistent with the comprehensive plan for the site,” said Bishop, noting the foundry property is in a heavy industrial zone.
Sam Zeakes, a long time Radford resident, had a few questions about the plan during the public comment section of the meeting. Zeakes wondered if chemicals would be used in the recycling operation, which would include stripping coated copper wire and recycling computers and other electronic equipment. Bishop indicated chemicals are not used in the process. Bishop also said the initial operation would allow his company to raise the revenue needed to work on the rest of the property
“The site needs a lot of work,” he said. “By utilizing part of the property for this, it will allow us to raise revenue to work on the rest of the property.”
Bishop said the initial operation would employ 8-12 people. He said it would begin operation in six to nine months after the SUP, if approved, goes into effect. The recycling operation would not be located in the area the Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency has flagged for corrective action based on high levels of heavy metals found in the soil from more than 100 years of foundry operation Bishop said most of the corrective action indicated for that portion of the property is a “do not disturb” directive, which means no development will take place on that portion.
Public comment on the special use permit will be taken at the public hearing on March 11, which will be held at the start of the regularly scheduled city council meeting, set for 7 pm. In council chambers at 10 Robertson St.