Financial Assistance

City of Oshkosh Completes Last Phase of Riverfront Brownfields Cleanup

In June 2017, the city of Oshkosh received the final Wisconsin DNR approval of the remediation of the former Mercury Marine facility on the Fox River. In 2006, the city acquired the closed facility from Mercury Marine with hopes to convert the property into a new and improved community asset. The city used EPA brownfields grants for assessment and cleanup work on the properties as well as state, city, and private funding.

Oshkosh Riverwalk

A new riverwalk provides additional community access to the waterfront.

This property housed industrial facilities since the mid-1800s. Past uses of the land include a lumber business, candle company, and a bulk fuel tank farm. The site was then owned by the Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Company who then sold it to Mercury Marine in the mid-1970s. A range of contamination types were identified at the site as well as several feet of waste fill across the entire property. Metals, petroleum contamination, and chlorinated compounds were identified in the soil and groundwater.

The city removed much of the contamination while using buildings and parking lots to serve as a cover over the residual contaminated soil. In addition, the cleanup included an innovative approach where they left one area of heavily contaminated soil under a newly created, city owned, small park. This park serves as a protective barrier, saves project funds and creates additional public green space. This park connects to a new public riverwalk and piers along the river. The city partnered with a private developer to build three high quality apartment buildings, two specifically for senior residents. The site went through the DNR’s Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) program and received a Certificate of Completion in August 2017 which provides liability protections for current and future property owners.

Wisconsin Assessment Monies Program Assists Communities with Brownfields Assessment

Many communities in Wisconsin have properties with known or suspected contamination that could benefit from environmental assessment to help move those properties from underused to productive. The Wisconsin DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program may be able to help.

Through the Wisconsin Assessment Monies program – or WAM – the DNR provides professional environmental site assessments to local governments, tribes and to private entities in select circumstances to help them to turn properties around and ready them for new uses. Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the award is an attractive opportunity for communities.

Applications for WAM services are accepted on an ongoing basis. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing.  Gas stations, dry cleaners and salvage yards are not eligible. Sites assisted by WAM are generally less than 10 acres and have petroleum or hazardous substance contamination that can be assessed for less than $35,000. 

Please call Tom Coogan, the WAM program administrator, at 608-267-7560 or email Tom to discuss eligibility requirements or for more information.

 

 

Waterfront Brownfields Projects May Benefit from NFWF Grant

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), along with private and public partners, is accepting applications for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program.

The Five Star and Urban Waters program will award approximately $2 million in modest sized grants nationwide. Local governments and non-profit organizations can apply for this funding that can be used to assist with restoration of urban waterfront areas.

Applications are due January 31, 2018.

All application materials must be submitted online through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

Annual Report Details Northern Wisconsin Cleanup

A vacant industrial lot in the heart of Ashland, just a few blocks from Lake Superior, is now poised for redevelopment with the help of two section 104(k) cleanup subgrants totaling $400,000 from Wisconsin’s revolving loan fund, known as Ready for Reuse.

The success of this northern Wisconsin cleanup site is highlighted in the recent year-end Report, a summary of the outcomes funded by a Section 128(a) Grant from the US EPA made to the Wisconsin DNR’s Brownfields program.

The former Roffers property was once the site of a railroad roundhouse in the late 1800s. At that time, the grounds were used for coal storage. Later, it became the site of the Ruth Manufacturing Company saw mill and lumber yard. In the 1950s, Roffers Construction operated on the site and did so until 2007. Additional buildings on the property also housed various businesses over the last century, including a flour mill, a grocery wholesaler warehouse, and the headquarters of a local general contractor.

These past uses brought widespread PAH contamination that was excavated and used to mitigate a subsidence issue at a closed city landfill through a cross-program effort at the Wisconsin DNR. This alternate disposal location gave the city an inexpensive option for bringing the landfill back into compliance while also providing a greener remedial alternative to the substantial transportation distance and cost of hauling the material to the nearest open landfill in this rural, remote area of the state.

Currently, the city is working with a promising development proposal for a mixed use, walkable residential and commercial space with integrated park and greenspace. By proposing a mix of single and multi-family dwellings with small footprints and affordable pricing adjacent to commercial incubator space, the development aims to appeal to new graduates of the local college.

Previous 128(a) reports, including mid-year and year-end summaries going back to 2012, can be found on the DNR’s RR Program web page.

 

 

EPA Grant Available for Environmental Workforce Development, Job Training; Webinar-based Application Assistance Available

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting Request for Proposals (RFPs) for FY18 grants related to environmental workforce development and job training. These grants are provided to eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to develop environmental programs that recruit, train and place unemployed and under-employed residents of communities affected by brownfields and other environmental contamination with the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field and in assessment and cleanup work taking place in their communities.

The grants, called Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grants, may be funded up to $200,000 over a three-year period.

To assist applicants with their proposals, EPA will hold an informational webinar for prospective grant applicants. The webinar will be held on November 7, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. EST. It will be recorded and posted to EPA’s brownfields website.

The deadline to submit an RFP is December 15, 2017. All proposals must be submitted through the grants.gov website.

Milwaukee to Use DNR Brownfield Assessment Funds at Inner Harbor Property

Milwaukee's Inner Harbor

A WAM grant will help repurpose a century-old coal storage site at Milwaukee’s inner harbor as part of a continuing effort to improve this gateway to the city.
Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

Efforts to repurpose a century-old coal storage site at Milwaukee’s inner harbor will get a boost from a recently issued Department of Natural Resources brownfields award.

The award comes from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, and will provide for contractor services worth approximately $25,000. The work will help Milwaukee – specifically the Redevelopment Authority of the City of the Milwaukee (RACM) – assess potential contamination, leading to eventual remediation and redevelopment of the prime waterfront site.

The nearly 14-acre site on Greenfield Avenue is located across the street from the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences and is currently a vacant lot that had historically housed fuel oil tanks. Over the years, fill material has been used to shore up a nearby dock wall and fill in a former boat slip.

“The DNR is honored to be a part of the future of this site,” said Christine Haag, chief of the DNR’s brownfields program. “Assessing this property for historic contamination is an important first step to the development of this waterfront property, which has so much potential given its location on Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor near the Freshwater Sciences building.”

Administered by the DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental site assessments of properties with known or perceived contamination.

Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the award is an attractive opportunity for communities. In many instances, WAM awards are leveraged with other sources of funding to kick-start repurposing efforts on properties that may have been underutilized for many years.

Applications can be submitted for WAM awards at any time. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners and salvage yards are not eligible.

Requests for DNR “Acknowledgment Letter” Due November 2

If you plan to submit an application for an FY2018 EPA brownfield grant, you only have a couple weeks left to request your letter of acknowledgment from the Remediation and Redevelopment Program for your federal grant application.

The EPA requires grant applicants other than tribal environmental authorities to obtain a letter from the DNR acknowledging that the state is aware the applicant is applying for a federal grant to conduct brownfield assessment, revolving loan fund or cleanup activities.

While the federal deadline to submit an application for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, or Cleanup grants isn’t until November 16, 2017, the DNR requests at least two weeks’ notice – November 2 – to develop and deliver your letter in a timely manner. These federal grants are available for the assessment and cleanup of brownfield properties.

You can request your state letter of acknowledgment from the DNR by contacting Elisabeth Kuisis (608-267-0543).

To find out how to get a DNR letter of acknowledgment and other useful information, visit the DNR Federal brownfield grants web page. For more information about the federal grants, see the September 20 article in the RR Report.

FY 2018 EPA Brownfields Grant Application Guidelines Released

The FY 2018 application guidelines for EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grants have been released by the Office of Land and Emergency Management. Proposals are due to EPA by November 16, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

These federal grants are available for the assessment and cleanup of brownfield properties.

For assistance with applying for a FY 2018 Brownfields Grant, contact your regional EPA representative or the Region 5 Technical Assistance to Brownfield (TAB) provider, KSU. TAB can provide free review of your draft EPA Assessment and Cleanup proposals. Please give TAB a one-week heads-up that you will be sending a draft to review. It generally takes TAB a few days to get the proposals back to you. Please contact Blase Leven (785-532-0780) to reserve your spot.

To find out how to get a DNR letter of support and other useful information, visit the DNR Federal brownfield grants web page.

Pittsville, Edgerton receive DNR brownfield awards

MADISON – Two Wisconsin communities stand to benefit from Department of Natural Resources brownfields awards to assist with the investigation of historic contamination.

Pittsville and Edgerton received Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) from the DNR for contractor services worth a combined $45,000. Administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental site assessments of contaminated properties.

“The work will help the communities better understand the contaminated areas in question, leading to potential job growth, retention and economic development,” said Christine Haag, DNR brownfields section chief.

Continue reading “Pittsville, Edgerton receive DNR brownfield awards”

CDFA Brownfields Financing Webinar Hazardous to Healthy: Financing Solutions for Recovering Brownfields

Join CDFA, technical partners, and experienced brownfield communities for a discussion on the financial strategies that restored hazardous properties for healthy reuse on August 31 at 1:00 PM Central Time. This webcast is designed for professionals who work directly with brownfield sites as well as economic development finance professionals and communities interested in shaping programs to enhance redevelopment financing opportunities. Click here to confirm your participation and receive login information. Registration is free and open to all interested stakeholders.