Friday, November 9, 2012

Florida Communities Decide to Root Out Uncertainty

By: Duane Craig

Government officials and property owners in Alachua County, Florida have decided the uncertainty of contamination at brownfield sites isn’t worth the lost business opportunities. So, four communities, Alachua, Hawthorne, Newberry and Waldo, have banded together seeking a federal grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate rumors of contamination.

By combining their efforts and going for one grant, the county and four communities can leverage $1 million from the EPA’s coffers and avoid costs and time associated with each one doing its own grant application. The county also already has experience with brownfield grants. The entities have agreed there will be at least one brownfield investigated from each area, according to this report.

Of prime concern, and the most likely types of places to be investigated, are former dry-cleaning establishments and former gas stations. City managers and county environmental officials say the uncertainty about contamination at the sites makes investors unlikely to redevelop them.
Counties and municipalities in Florida are very familiar with the process of gathering federal money to deal with contamination issues. Since 2000, governments in Florida have applied for and received 44 assessment grants.

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