Advertisement
  1. Archive

Feds award almost $1 million to local governments and a nonprofit for 'brownfield' work

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker speaks in Tampa during a news conference Wednesday morning about EPA “brownfield” grants. The event was held at the University Area Community Center Complex. [SAM OGOZALEK | Times]
Published Jun. 12

TAMPA — A local nonprofit and two bay area governments are getting federal grants totaling nearly $1 million to clean up land that may be contaminated.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator announced the awards Wednesday in Tampa, saying the money will be used to assess whether abandoned or old "brownfield" properties are polluted by hazardous materials near the University of South Florida's Tampa campus, in unincorporated Lealman and in the city of Brooksville.

"These grants help provide the change that can lead to broad community resurgence," said Mary S. Walker, the agency's Region 4 administrator, which oversees EPA operations in Florida and other southeastern states.

The EPA defines a "brownfield'' as a property on which redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. A third of the EPA's grant money is earmarked for the Tampa-based University Area Community Development Corp., a non-profit that supports low-income families living close to USF.

Mike Marshall, the non-profit's director of real estate, said his organization wants to use part of the grant money to determine whether there are any environmental pollutants on 18 vacant parcels bought in recent years through its land-bank program.

"We need to find out what was on the property before. Because some of them were developed back in the early part of the 19th century and then abandoned," Marshall said. "We need experts to come in and test the soil."

The non-profit plans to redevelop those 18 parcels and get them back on active tax rolls, Marshall said.

The city of Brooksville and Pinellas County also are getting $300,000 in EPA grant money to assess whether several brownfield sites can be cleaned up for future redevelopment.

Brooksville City Manager Mark Kutney said the grant will be used to test brownfields along Broad Street and the site of an old hospital.

"There are a number of properties, like old service stations, that could have environmental contamination," Kutney said.

Pinellas County plans to use the money to test parcels near 54th Avenue N in Lealman, an unincorporated area between St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park. Teri Hasbrouck, Pinellas County's environmental program coordinator, said some of the parcels could hopefully be redeveloped as part of affordable housing projects or to build a grocery store, among other things.

The county hasn't identified any contaminants at the Lealman sites as of now, Hasbrouck said.

"That's what the assessment grant is for," she said. "Sometimes (environmental clean up) is not needed, and people just think it might be contaminated. So it has a stigma attached to it and developers don't want to touch it."

Contact Sam Ogozalek at sogozalek@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3430. Follow @SamOgozalek.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Gerald Michael Souders, 61, was hospitalized after an apparent drug overdose and died in sheriff's custody after he was booked into jail. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Booked on Friday on probation violation charges, 61-year-old Gerald Souders died on Saturday.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Troopers say the 28-year-old driver was involved in two minor accidents before causing the crash that killed a Largo man.
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a 25-year-old grad student enrolled at the University of Florida fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  4. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a woman fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  5. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the man suffered upper body trauma. His death is now being investigated.
  6. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a three-vehicle crash that took place in Palm Harbor along Tampa Road just west of Lake St. George Drive. A 43-year-old woman was killed in the crash. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    A 43-year-old woman died from her injuries. The cause of the crash is still being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.
  7. Kathryn Norris , 57, died in 2009 inside her Chevrolet Nova. It took authorities almost 16 months to find her. How could a woman go missing inside her own home? Florida Today
    Kathryn Norris disappeared long before she died.
  8. Tampa firefighter Tanja Vidovic steps out of the federal courthouse in Tampa in during the 2017 federal trial of her sexual discrimination case against the city of Tampa. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON   |   Times]
    Tanja Vidovic will run against incumbent Joe Ayoub in the city’s March 2020 elections.
  9. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    James Busch, 53, is in “extremely critical condition" after he shot himself in the head, then was shot twice in the arms by a responding deputy.
  10. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    Scott J. Johnson, 50, was driving north near the Anclote toll plaza when he crashed into a steel post and died at the scene.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement