Oct. 24, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Bonnie Prigge or Connie Willman, 573-265-2993
MRPC highlights DNR’s Brownfields Program resources
Jones, Leathers explain options to MRPC board
ST. JAMES – The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) discussed the advantages of using the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program for property redevelopment.
During MRPC’s regular board meeting Oct. 13, 2011, Catherine Jones, outreach coordinator for DNR Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program, discussed the programs offered to help redevelop properties that may be contaminated with hazardous materials.
Jones explained brownfields are sites where there is a known or suspected contamination of hazardous materials. Examples of such properties could include gas stations, dry cleaners and production facilities.
DNR can provide a Phase I and Phase II property assessment through the Brownfields Program at no charge at the request of a local government. The property owner or potential buyer submits a application, which includes a consent-for-access agreement signed by the property owner. DNR then selects an environmental contractor to perform the assessment.
The Phase I assessment features a history of the property and a history of property ownership. If there is an indication of a hazardous material on the site, the Phase II assessment includes sampling of items such as soil, groundwater, tanks, etc.
Funding for the assessments is provided through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, Jones noted.
After completing Phase I and II, the applicant may enroll in DNR’s Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program, which includes a $200 application fee and a down payment for the cleanup of the project site. This cost covers the cost of the DNR project manager, Jones said.
After the site has been cleaned, a Certificate of Completion is granted by DNR for the property and then the site may be used for whatever purpose had been previously noted.
Jones noted the Brownfields Program was established in 1994, and since its start only two properties have had mandated cleanups because of the extreme harm to the environment or to humans.
DNR can also provide an area-wide inventory of possible Brownfields sites in communities at no cost, Jones said.
Mardy Leathers, Crawford County clerk and president of the not-for-profit Cuba Development Group, discussed local projects that used DNR’s Brownfields Programs.
Leathers noted a property that used the Brownfields cleanup program at Historic Route 66 and Highway 19 in Cuba.
“This was the epicenter of our community and the question was, ‘How do we clean it up?’” Leathers said. “You can take an area with a lot of intangible value and create tangible value there.”
Leathers explained Cuba Development Group’s plans to expedite the process of transforming the piece of commercial property into an area where mixed commercial and residential property would be possible.
“Hopefully this will have a ripple effect in our community,” Leathers said.
For more information on DNR’s Brownfields Program, contact DNR’s Hazardous Waste Program at (800) 361-4827 or (573) 526-8913 or visit www.missouribrownfields.com.
In other business, the board:
• Welcomed MRPC’s two newest employees, Mary Ann Gorrell, secretary, and Dawn Harmon, housing coordinator/Phelps County PHA.
• Approved MRPC’s audit, presented by Mark Keen of Keen & Company CPAs. The audit included the FY 2010-2011, which ended June 30, 2011. Keen stated MRPC received a clean audit with no issues or findings. “MRPC is a very well-managed organization from what we’ve seen. They have a lot of experience and do a very good job,” Keen said.
• Approved Jan Haviland to serve as at-large representative for industry for the MRPC board. Haviland replaces Jim Decker. Haviland, of Linn, Mo., is an active management employee of Haviland Coporation, which manufactures squeegees in Linn.
• Noted three officers were approved to serve for the Transportation Advisory Committee: Donald Dodd, chairman, John Petersen, vice chairman, and James Kelffner, secretary.
• Heard a report from Executive Director Bonnie Prigge, who stated applicants are needed for the low-income rental housing rehabilitation program, which uses CDBG disaster funds. Prigge also noted MRPC’s pass-through funds totaled $14 million for FY 2010-2011. This amount is $4 million more than the previous year. Pass-through funds go through MRPC directly into the region as local government grants, business loans and housing assistance, among other things.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 29, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.
The MRPC board will briefly meet before the 2011 Annual Dinner, scheduled Nov. 10 at Visitation Hall of the Knights of Columbus, 206 Sixth Street, in Vienna, Mo. Cost of dinner tickets is $25. Reservations can be made by contacting Ruth Whitaker at 573 265-2993. MRPC meetings are open to the public.
Catherine Jones, outreach coordinator for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program, explained the benefits of using the Brownfields Program as the initial step for cleaning up properties with the purpose of redevelopment.