By Frank Lewis
The city of Vanceburg has been awarded a $200,000 grant as one of four projects selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for brownfield communitywide assessment grants and cleanup grants. That announcement was made Thursday by the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection which said the EPA is awarding a total of $1 million in brownfield grants.
Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to clean up the Old Shoe Factory at 185 Rowley Avenue in Vanceburg. The site’s historical land uses include a tannery in the late 1800s, a shoe factory in the early 1900s, a war surplus building and a general hardware store. The site is contaminated with heavy metals and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities and to implement a health monitoring program. A call by the Daily Times to Mayor Matt Ginn, went unreturned on Friday.
Brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized due to contamination or the perception of contamination. They can include old factories, abandoned hospitals, old schools, former service stations and mine-scarred lands.
“These brownfield community wide assessment and cleanup grants will enable the four Kentucky communities to move forward with cleaning and redeveloping contaminated properties, which will stimulate economic development, protect the environment and improve the lives of the people living in these communities,” DEP Commissioner Bruce Scott said.
Over the past nine years, with the help of the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program, Kentucky communities have received $9.3 million in EPA brownfield grants to help assess and remediate the estimated 8,000 brownfield properties in Kentucky. The Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program offers assessment and grant review services, technical assistance and brownfield grant writing education to those communities and organizations that wish to revitalize properties with an environmental past.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.