HR Green Assists City of Waterloo in Transitioning Declining Properties into Teen Center
HR Green, a professional engineering and environmental consulting firm, has assisted the City of Waterloo, Iowa in transitioning two declining commercial properties into an exciting reuse project. Clearing a former dry cleaning operation for redevelopment helped advance the construction of a $3 million Teen Center by the Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley.
As part of HR Green’s ongoing commitment to collaborate with communities on brownfields assessment and cleanup projects, the firm worked with City staff to secure a $400,000 EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant to investigate potentially contaminated properties. The funds allowed the City to complete an environmental site assessment (ESA) on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club prior to acquisition.
During the demolition of the blighted structures, contractors uncovered a severely damaged underground storage tank and a 55-gallon drum that threatened the project’s viability. HR Green’s groundwater and soil sampling activities did not identify any contaminant levels above statewide standards and the project was able to proceed.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley hosted a grand opening for the Teen Center on January 16, 2020. The facility features space for tutoring, computer and digital graphics skills development, music creativity, college testing preparation, counseling, direct homework assistance, and supervised recreational space. The City welcomed officials from EPA Region 7 to speak during the ceremony.
“This project is a training ground for our future leaders and workforce and space to prepare our teens for life after high school,” said James Lee III, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley. “We will have caring adults present to support and encourage our kids. It will be our Teen Staff’s job to show our members the myriad of opportunities available to be successful. The center will produce caring and responsible citizens to advance our community for the future. We are preparing Waterloo teens to become the next community leaders. The center also provides another asset to be used not just for our youth but for our neighbors and the broader community.”
This transformative project is only one of the numerous efforts currently underway that are revitalizing a once-declining central business district. Visit the City’s highly interactive brownfields project website (www.thenewwaterloo.com) for more details.
“The new Boys and Girls Teen Center accomplishes many positives for the City of Waterloo,” said Noel Anderson, Community Planning and Development Director for the City of Waterloo. “First, it works in partnership with the City of Waterloo, Walnut Historic Neighborhood Association, JSA Development, and Habitat for Humanity as another vital piece in the overall redevelopment and rehabilitation of the Walnut Neighborhood. Second, it shows the ongoing importance of the City’s efforts to eliminate blight through the brownfield program and 657A State Code use. And last but not least, the overall impact of the Teen Center on the youth of the community.”