The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the department awarded a Brownfields Grant to the City of Altoona.
The grant is from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies program, which provides contractor services worth up to $35,000 for the environmental assessment and cleanup of eligible brownfields sites.
Brownfields are abandoned, idle and underused commercial or industrial properties where reuse is stalled by potential contamination. Brownfields vary in size, location, age and past use; they can be anything from a 500-acre former automobile assembly plant to a small, abandoned gas station.
The awarded grant will support the contractor assessment of two adjacent properties at 211 and 213 Division St. where there is suspected environmental contamination related to previous business activities.
The aging structure at 211 Division St. is in poor condition and was declared a public nuisance. From approximately 1900 to 1960, the property housed electrical transformers, a potential source of contamination from historical transformer fluids.
The adjacent building at 213 Division St. is structurally unsound and has been vacant and unused since 2005. Also constructed around 1900, the small, cement block building was used as a general store and later for automotive repair.
The city declared both sites as blighted in late 2020 and acquired each property for redevelopment as part of a broader effort to reinvest and revitalize its downtown.
“The DNR commends the city’s efforts to identify environmental hazards at these blighted properties,” said Jodie Peotter, DNR Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief. “This grant will help the city move closer to redeveloping the properties.”
Since 2009, the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies program has provided nearly $2.8 million to 68 communities across Wisconsin, partnering to help clean up and redevelop often run-down or underused properties that detract from a community’s potential. Applications for assistance may be submitted to the DNR at any time.
The DNR has a wide range of financial and liability tools available to help local governments, businesses, lenders, and others clean up and redevelop brownfields in Wisconsin, including Ready for Reuse financial awards, which may be used for environmental cleanup. DNR staff around the state are available to meet with community leaders, bankers, developers and private individuals to discuss brownfield projects through Green Team meetings.
More information about the DNR’s brownfields cleanup programs and services is available on the DNR’s brownfields website.