The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the DNR awarded brownfield assessment services to the city of Cuba City to assist with the investigation of potential environmental contamination at the site of a former dry cleaner.
The award is from the DNR’s Wisconsin Assessment Monies program, which provides contractor services for the environmental assessment of eligible brownfield sites.
A brownfield is a property where expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by real or 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 award will support the assessment of environmental conditions at 204 South Main St., where suspected environmental contamination is related to a former dry cleaning business. The property has been vacant for more than a decade. Suspected contamination has made the property difficult to sell.
A deteriorated building sits on the property and has become a blight in the middle of the downtown businesses district. Cuba City’s plans for the site include purchasing the property, razing the building and revitalizing the property. Razing of the building will erase the eyesore and address safety concerns of having an abandoned building so close to a busy thoroughfare. Cleanup of the site will give a valuable property back to the city to be redeveloped in the future. In addition, the site will no longer detract from Cuba City’s “Parade of Presidents” Main Street display—an important tourism and economic anchor for the city.
“Over the last few decades, Cuba City has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to plan and grow a vibrant and sustainable community,” said Jodie Thistle, DNR Brownfields, Outreach and Policy Section Chief, Remediation and Redevelopment Program. “Cleaning up and re-purposing the former dry cleaner is an excellent next step toward Cuba City’s goals. The DNR applauds the city’s efforts and looks forward to a continued partnership.”
Since 2009, the DNR’s WAM program has provided over $3.3 million in services and grant funds to over 70 communities across Wisconsin, partnering to help clean up and redevelop often run-down or underused properties that detract from a community’s potential. Because there is no local financial match required, the WAM program grants present an attractive opportunity for communities to learn about environmental conditions. Applications for assistance may be submitted to the DNR at any time.
Interested in learning how cleaning up brownfields can help your community? The DNR’s series of on-demand Brownfields Fundamentals webinars cover planning, cleanup, liability, and other topics as part of a well-rounded crash course in Wisconsin brownfield redevelopment.
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 brownfield cleanup programs and services is available on the DNR’s brownfields webpage.