Two brownfields cleanup projects in Antigo are getting financial assistance in the form of grants from the Department of Natural Resources.
The financial awards come from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies (WAM) program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for eligible sites. The DNR awarded the grants to the city of Antigo and Langlade County for two neighboring sites near the intersection of Edison Street and 1st Avenue.
“DNR is proud to partner with the city of Antigo and Langlade County as they work to address environmental concerns associated with these two properties,” said DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief Jodie Peotter. “Often, WAM grants are able to kick-start a project and may be used as leverage against other grants or loans.”
The neighboring properties that were awarded grants face each other from opposite sides of 1st Avenue. The southern property, located at 915 1st Avenue, is occupied by a vacant building that was formerly Care Partners Assisted Living. The vacant building is being considered for future use as a sober living facility for women. The second property that will receive a grant is located across 1st Avenue to the north at 1020 Edison Street. Redevelopment is anticipated to include a similar sober living facility for men.
Both properties are located along an abandoned railroad yard and maintenance facility that was discontinued from service in the late 1970s. The grants for contractor services will help Antigo and Langlade County officials determine whether environmental contamination exists at the properties.
Since 2009, the WAM program has provided more than $2.5 million to 61 communities across the state, partnering to help clean up and redevelop old, often run-down or underused properties that distract from a community’s potential.
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. The program is funded through a U.S. EPA brownfields assessment grant.
Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no local financial match, WAM is an attractive opportunity for communities to gain knowledge of environmental conditions. 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 for WAM assistance may be submitted 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.