Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $600,000 grant to the City of Plymouth, Marshall County, and the Town of Bourbon to help redevelop contaminated Brownfield sites. The group of local governments was among 171 other communities around the country to receive similar grants.
The EPA defines a “Brownfield site” as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Beginning in the fall, the communities will use the grant funds to assess contaminated property, develop a Brownfield inventory and prioritize sites for future cleanups.
In a Thursday press conference, EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman spoke of the impact of such grants to Plymouth and fellow grant recipient South Bend, stating, “These EPA grants are solid investments in the future of South Bend and Plymouth – that will help transform contaminated sites into redevelopment opportunities.” U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski also offered support to the environmental cleanup efforts in the City. “I thank the EPA for recognizing our redevelopment efforts in the City. I’m looking forward to working with Marshall County and the Town of Bourbon as we move forward,” said Mayor Mark Senter. The Mayor also urged people to contact his office with any additional information on properties that may need to be added to the City’s Brownfield’s inventory.
Some of the areas of possible assessment in the city are: just west of downtown in the old railroad properties from LaPorte to Adams Streets and Plum to Second Streets. This includes the Franklin Iron Scrap area. Other areas would be the Deon property near the South Gateway area as well as the Ingwald Johnson property on Western Avenue.
Bourbon Town Clerk Kim Berger said they are looking at three sites including the empty Reynolds Aluminum facility west of town on Center Street, the Shells Incorporated facility west of town and the old Lawmaster Brothers Roofing buildings at the end of Thayer Street.
Marshall County has two gas-station sites, one in LaPaz and one in Argos they have added to the list.
In the grant application it is noted, “There are over 30 Brownfields currently identified in the coalition area with an additional 50 to 100 potential sites to be evaluated in the Brownfield inventory process.”