More than a decade after the Salem Mall was torn down, crews have begun cleaning up the property.
According to Mayor Mary McDonald, it’s the first substantial work being done on the site since the mall was demolished in 2006.
The cleanup work started earlier this week behind the former Sears and The Home Depot, Mayor McDonald said.
The goal is to get the land ready for new construction, and the city has received interest in the site, she added.
Local business owners who spoke with 2 NEWS said they’re hopeful about the new work being done on the property.
“When the Salem Mall closed, it gave us a void,” said Dwight Nolan, the owner of A+ Cleaners.
After several weeks, the mountains of debris on the land will disappear, leaving behind a 52-acre, flat piece of land ripe and ready for new construction, McDonald said.
“Probably about two years ago or so, I got a chance to go up and actually see what was in there, and there was a lot of concrete,” she said. “There was a lot of things that were down there that should not be there, and it definitely said it was not shovel ready.”
The cleanup is being funded by a $200,000 grant from Montgomery County, McDonald said. The city owns the land now, but the goal is to get it in the hands of a developer, she added.
McDonald said she envisions a mixed-use site.
“I’d like to see something that looks like part retail, but also something that creates living-wage jobs,” McDonald said.
Many people who work and live in the area told 2 NEWS they’re excited to see new movement on the site.
“Hopefully it will develop more businesses and build the city back up to where it used to be,” said Sherrie Anderson, a Trotwood resident.
Accordng to Mayor McDonald, Sears still owns the building and parking lot where its former store was located, even though it closed down more than five years ago.
The city has had talks with Sears about acquiring the property and wants those conversations to resume, McDonald said.
2 NEWS has reached out to Sears, and we’re still waiting to hear back.