SHEFFIELD — The city, state and Sheffield Redevelopment Authority have entered into a memorandum of agreement that will allow the authority to begin removing items from an old dump site that will be part of the proposed Inspiration Landing resort development.
City attorney Keith Worsham said the memorandum of understanding with the Alabama Historical Commission means the city will be able to move into certain areas of the old dump property and remove old vehicles, appliances and other items.
Worsham said there is still one hurdle that must be cleared before the debris can be moved.
A study to determine if the habitat of a certain species of bat exists in trees in the area has to be conducted before any work can be done. That job will be conducted by Tom Counts of Conservation Services of North Alabama
The City Council was scheduled to discuss hiring Counts during its Monday meeting.
Counts said he will be looking for evidence of habitats for the endangered Indiana bat and the Northern Long Eared bat. The bats live in forests during the summer, but live in caves during the winter, he said.
Counts said he will walk the property to determine if there are potential habitats for the endangered animals. If a habitat is found, he will discuss his findings with the city and U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials. Additional assessments could be required if a habitat is found, Counts said.
Worsham said the assessment could begin as early as Wednesday.
According to Worsham, the areas of the dump site that cannot be disturbed include the locations of the old "Ensley furnace" and the "Cole furnace," which were located off West 20th Avenue near the boundary of the Inspiration Landing property.
"Those were the primary furnace sites at the turn of the century," Worsham said.
As part of the agreement with the Historical Commission, Worsham said developer John Elkington has agreed to call the resort project's city center "Furnace Hill," to honor the historic site. Historic markers will be placed near the remnants of the old furnaces to help tell their story.
Inspiration Landing, which will be built on the east and west sides of Spring Creek along the Tennessee River will include an amphitheater, an indoor event center, a marina, a Hilton Garden Inn hotel and a residential component. The city center will include shops, restaurant and a movie theater.
Worsham said the furnace sites have been recommended for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
He said there is partial remants of the old furnaces and some foundations.