Tuesday, Dec. 7

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Council and property owner step forward on brownfield process     Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 7, 2004]  In mid-October the Lincoln City Council was made aware of an opportunity to clean up some of its nominally polluted properties. These properties consist mostly of previous fuel storage sites that have some remaining ground contamination.

Economic development partnership director Rob Orr introduced representatives from Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. who explained the process of restoring these properties.

The state of Illinois has made it possible for municipalities to work with private property owners to reclaim properties, using a 70-30 grant program. Illinois pays 70 percent of the cleanup costs, and the municipality and property owner cover the remaining 30 percent. The municipality keeps track of their expenses for their "in-kind services" provided during the project, and if that doesn't meet 30 percent, the property owner makes up the difference.

A couple of weeks ago committee chairman Derrick Crane set out to "get the ball rolling" so the grant process could get started. He laid out two objectives:

  1. Choose a grant writer.
  2. Come up with a list of sites.

Grant writing is offered by engineering companies that plan the project and oversee the labor. Most companies don't charge a fee unless another company is chosen for the later portion of the project.

Three companies were considered at Monday night's meeting. The council agreed to contract Randolph and Associates of Peoria to write the first brownfield grant, for the following reasons:

  • The city has worked with them before.
  • They were pleased with Randolph's performance.
  • Randolph is closest.
  • And they have experience with brownfields.

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A list of potential properties was also reviewed. It was decided to choose just one that looks simple and see how that goes.

Alderman Patrick Madigan thought that the property at 600 Pulaski St. would make a good "benchmark" property and a safe place to start.

The owner's plans are to develop it for a parking lot after cleanup. It will bring some relief to downtown parking issues near the courthouse. Jim Drew from the Farm Bureau was present to represent that property. He said it offers relief from an eyesore, downtown parking and a clean property for the future.

The council approved that property.

Property owners are kept apprised of costs as the project proceeds and may stop the process at any given time.

Other properties were identified as potential future prospects:

  • 1600 S. Fifth St.
  • 1220, 1210 Fifth St. (former Al's Main Event)
  • 603 N. Kickapoo
  • 1030 Woodlawn Road and Postville
  • 103 S. Logan St.
  • 619 Keokuk

The owners may contact Alderman Derrick Crane if interested.

[Jan Youngquist]

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