Brownfield Assessment Grant for the City of Oskaloosa
- Commercial Developers
- Local Governments
- Brownfields Redevelopment
- Industrial + Commercial
- Land Development
- Land Planning
- Oskaloosa, Iowa
Historical mining operations within Oskaloosa created complex economic, social, and environmental issues that persist today. Improper closures cause lingering questions related to impacts on human health and ecological systems. EPA awarded the City a $400,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct cleanup planning on brownfield sites. Oskaloosa was the only community in Iowa, and one of three in EPA Region 7, to receive an Assessment Grant that year. The City received another $300,000, Brownfield Assessment Grant, to further address its outstanding brownfields issues.
HR Green’s Brownfield Assessment Grant Responsibilities and Role
HR Green assisted the City by: preparing the applications to obtain EPA Brownfields funding; creating an innovative GIS prioritization model to inventory potential brownfields sites; working with city staff and an Advisory Committee to prioritize identified properties; conducting Phase I and II ESAs; developing an interactive website providing project transparency; evaluating redevelopment options for several key properties based upon identified contaminant conditions; completing a stormwater infrastructure evaluation of a targeted property designed to guide future capital improvement projects; drafting a market study to advance residential reuse of a brownfield site, and leading interagency coordination with IDNR and EPA officials.
To date, the efforts have cleared 13 properties totaling approximately 125.5 acres for reuse. These investigations leveraged $43.4 million in private/public investment via new development, title transfers, and state “shovel-ready” certifications.
FORMER MINING OPERATION:
The most significant redevelopment project involved an 18-acre former mine at the corner of IA-92 and IA-163. The underutilized parcel long sat vacant along the community’s most highly traveled corridor. Uncertainties about residual contamination, combined with unknowns related to the location of mining entrances and shafts, scared potential investors. HR Green’s creative approach involved completing an electromagnetic induction (EMI) study to identify any subsurface anomalies. The resulting information also permitted HR Green to design a more tailored, cost-efficient sampling plan. The Phase II ESA did not detect any elevated levels of contaminants which cleared the property for an $8.25 million, 76-room Fairfield Inn and Suite hotel.
MA & PA/BUCHANAN OIL:
The EPA Brownfield Assessment Grants also allowed the City to aggressively acquire a former bulk oil station located at 711 6th Avenue West. The project involved completing due diligence investigations on five parcels prior to taking title. HR Green helped the City secure $3,750 in IDNR Section 128-A funding to advance these efforts. The City plans to issue a future Request for Proposal (RFP) to convert the vacant lots into reuse that compliments the existing environment. HR Green devised schematics for several different scenarios such as detached single-family, attached single-family, and multi-family residential to help inform the process.