Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Meeting set for Monday on Brooksville environmental assessment program

BROOKSVILLE — The city of Brooksville has announced that an informational meeting detailing the launch of the Brooksville Brownfields Redevelopment Task Force will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave., Brooksville.

The task force will be the major information conduit between residents and the program team, as well as the project's advocates, and the driving force behind the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields program, which is looking to identify specific properties where toxic underground contaminants might be located.

Funded by at a $400,000 multipurpose pilot grant awarded to the city last year by the EPA, the task force will work with the program team to coordinate the implementation of workshops and training sessions involving the community and to help people understand the Brownfields process.

"We feel that it's one of those programs that will benefit from having active participation from throughout the community," said community development director Bill Geiger.

Much of the focus of the task force, which will meet quarterly over the next two years, will be centered around investigating and identifying properties in the city that have a historical connection with underground contaminants. Those properties include abandoned gas stations and/or former petroleum storage systems, railroad rights of way, and abandoned manufacturing and industrial processing sites, as well as parcels formerly used to house the city's public works operations.

In its application to the EPA, Brooksville officials said that dilapidated facilities and environmental uncertainties regarding many properties have created a blight that has inhibited economic development efforts. Many of the suspected properties in the city's designated community redevelopment area in south Brooksville have sat vacant primarily because potential buyers are afraid of the high cost that would be required to develop them.

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