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TCAAP demolition ends with a ceremony
The Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) entered a new phase of redevelopment on June 6, with a ceremony as demolition on the last remaining building began at the vast, 427 acre site in Arden Hills.
The event, which kicked off just after 1 p.m., saw county and state officials taking a first whack at the building, and a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Allied D-Day Invasion during World War II.
TCAAP, and at its height, the 26,000 people it employed, supported the war effort from 1941, when it opened, through the end of the war in 1945, manufacturing small arms ammunition.
Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, in his introductory remarks, said the start of demolition, which ocurred one day short of a year ago on June 7, 2013, was a much bigger deal compared to the relatively low-key event over which he was presiding.
“We had a big gold ball that dropped on a building and fireworks exploded,” Huffman said, shortly before the big gold ball was swapped for golden sledgehammers and multi-colored hard hats.
“The last walls are coming down, but this is the beginning of great place,” Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega said. “I promise you there will be more press conferences this year on this site.”
Several former TCAAP employees were in attendance, many of whom had fond memories of working at the plant; one said he’d met his wife in the very building that was about to be torn down.
Arden Hills Mayor David Grant said that for a developed community such as his, “TCAAP is our future.” He also noted how shells that can be traced back to TCAAP are still sometimes found in Europe, and remembered the D-Day invasion.
“When I think of D-Day, I remember that soldiers were probably carrying ammunition made on this site,” Grant said, then tipping a cap to former TCAAP employees. “There are many people here who remember taking tremendous pride in supporting our troops.”
Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Katie Clark Sieben said the TPAAC redevelopment would continue to have support from the State and legislature, and that the business community was keeping close tabs on the redevelopment.
Also in attendance were Sen. Bev Scalze and Rep. Barb Yarusso, both of whom helped secure state funding for TCAAP in the legislature, as well as members of the Arden Hills city council, which will vote on a TCAAP master plan land use map at its June 30 meeting.