DENISON, Texas (KXII) Former Denison Mayor Bill Lindsay said he remembers hanging out near the old WJ Smith Wood Preserving Company off Morton Street when he was a kid.
“Things go away that you knew when you were a kid and then all of a sudden things are reutilized,” Lindsay said.
The company began treating railroad ties and telephone poles with creosote in 1909.
“To go from point A to point B you had to cross the creek,” Lindsay said. “And the creek of course had creosote in the mud and in the water and it got in my levis and my mother used to give me unmitigated you know… where have you been child, do you know how much those Levis cost?”
It's the same chemical that got the land designated a hazardous Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency, needing to be cleaned up because creosote is known to cause cancer and other health concerns.
But Lindsay says he's never had any of those problems.
Katy Industries spent more than 10 million dollars to clean it up. Now all 100 acres will be auctioned off on Thursday, starting bid $300,000.
We spoke to people who live nearby who are hoping for shopping plazas.
"Something like that,” Alicia Ybarra said. “Something that would be useful to everyone. Because around here we have a lot of grocery stores. We don't have a lot of shopping centers."
"You've got to go to either Denison or Durant to do anything so it'd be nice to have close to home,” Shelly Estep said. “Denison needs a whole lot more businesses, shopping centers, parks.”
"Like downtown Denison I can remember when it was lots of stores and things like that and when I retired and came back it was a lot of empty places,” Lindsay said. “Now it's all filling out again."
71 of the 100 acres have been cleared for residential. The other 29 would need a lot more work before people could live on it.
A historic 19th century cemetery is also included on property.