Waterloo Boys and Girls Club

Waterloo, Iowa


  • Education
  • Local Governments


  • Brownfields Redevelopment
  • Environmental


  • Waterloo, Iowa

The Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley sought help from city officials in identifying a location for a proposed expansion project. The landlocked organization had outgrown its existing campus located just north of downtown Waterloo. The City offered two nearby single-story commercial structures at 807 and 809-811 East 4th Street as potential candidate sites. The former operated as a dry cleaner for nearly 60 years before transitioning to various businesses such as a restaurant, beauty salon, and candy shop. It remained underutilized recently- primarily being used for storage. The latter housed a heating/cooling contractor, ice cream shop, and tavern over the last century; however, the building had not been regularly occupied. A lack of utilities combined with extended exposure to the elements created significant structural issues. Waterloo City officials deemed it unfit for human habitation or occupancy. Both properties in their current condition were hindering the City’s larger efforts to revitalize the surrounding Walnut Neighborhood. More importantly, anxieties about exposing children to potential contamination concerns threatened to halt the project.

HR Green’s Waterloo Boys and Girls Club Responsibilities and Role

The City requested HR Green to complete a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on each site under its EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants. This work identified several on-and-off sites recognized environmental conditions that required further investigation. The City later uncovered an underground tank and 55-gallon drum while demolishing both structures. Subsequent soil and groundwater sampling activities did not identify any contaminants exceeding statewide standards thus clearing the area for re-use.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley constructed the Otto Schoitz Family Teen and Educational Center on the former brownfield site. Its grand opening ceremony featured dignitaries from EPA Region 7 and Mayor Quentin Hart. The $3 million, 12,000-square-foot building features space for tutoring, computer and digital graphics skills development, music creativity, college testing preparation, counseling, direct homework assistance, and supervised recreational space. Further, the facility helps anchor an emerging Walnut Neighborhood bound by Franklin Street, East 4th Street, Dane Street, and U.S. Highway 63.

As Waterloo’s preferred environmental consultant, HR Green has worked with staff to identify, prioritize, assess, conduct redevelopment planning, and remediation activities (when necessary) on several key parcels. In fact, our firm has helped the City secure 16 EPA Brownfields Grants totaling $2.95 million. These efforts have produced the conversion of a vacant machinery manufacturer into a $7.4 million Public Works Department facility, the construction of a $7 million riverfront condominium project in a historically light industrial neighborhood, and the siting of a $27.5 million city-owned recreation center on several former auto-oriented businesses and vacant structures impacted by flooding all within the past five years. Visit Waterloo’s project website (www.thenewwaterloo.com) to review more of our collaborative efforts.

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