A brownfields cleanup project in the village of Randolph is getting financial assistance by way of a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.
The financial award comes from DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 to eligible sites. The grant for contractor services will help city officials assess if environmental contamination exists at the former Graafsma Garage on Stark Street in Randolph.
“DNR is privileged to partner with the village of Randolph as the community works to improve this property,” said DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief Jodie Peotter. “An award like this can be really meaningful for a small community where there’s interest in cleaning up a property, but the time and expense of investigating potential environmental issues are perceived as a hindrance.”
The former garage was once a vibrant car dealership and service station. After it closed in the 1980s it was used as a storage building for a lumber yard, construction company and well drilling company. It is uncertain if the former service station’s underground fuel tanks were removed after the garage closed. The building is in poor condition and the village is interested in taking it down and selling the property.
Since 2009, the WAM program has provided nearly $2.5 million to 59 communities across the state, partnering to help clean up and redevelop old, often run-down or underused properties that distract from a neighborhood’s potential.
Administered by the Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental site assessments of properties with known or perceived contamination. The program is funded through U.S. EPA.
Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match involved, the program 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. The DNR uses WAM funding to assess brownfields throughout the state, concentrating on industrial sites and closed, or closing, manufacturing plants. WAM awards are also made for sites that may not have had a history of manufacturing but are in rural areas, racially diverse communities or economically disadvantaged areas.