The site at 235 N. Third Ave. qualifies as a result of environmental contamination inside the vacant factory by animals and pigeons, making it eligible for funding to mitigate that contamination.
Now that the city has approved the designation, city administrators can begin working with engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection to draft a plan for cleaning up the two-acre site.
In the meantime, the city has installed a chain-link fence around the site and has pressure-washed the building and patched the roof. It boarded up the windows on the decaying stucco building to protect it until restoration can begin. Crews will paint it in coming weeks. The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency is funding that work, totaling about $37,000, according to city records.
City administrators anticipate seeking bids later this year from developers who are interested in renovating the structure.
The factory was built about 1925, and employees rolled cigars there by hand for nearly four decades. Since closing as a cigar plant in the early 1960s, the building has passed through several owners before finally landing in the county’s hands about 30 years ago.