This property was a former gasoline service station and auto repair shop located adjacent to a residential neighborhood on a main entryway to downtown Ishpeming. A local business wanted to acquire the property, demolish the existing blighted structure, and construct a new coffee shop and bakery in its place. However, the developer was reluctant to move forward with the project due to the potential environmental costs associated with redevelopment of the site. In the interest of reducing blight, the Marquette County Land Bank Authority acquired the property to address the perceived and anticipated costs associated with known underground storage tanks, contamination, and demolition.
The Marquette County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority utilized its U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant to fund Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments for the property, both of which were completed by Envirologic. The result of the assessments was the identification of contamination at concentrations above cleanup criteria and the discovery of underground storage tanks remaining in place.
To overcome the challenges associated with redeveloping this property, Envirologic led the effort to help the Marquette County Land Bank Authority acquire a $200,000 Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Refined Petroleum Fund Grant. Envirologic was responsible for preparing the grant proposal, application, and Work Plans. To aid in the Land Bank Authority's administration of the grant, Envirologic also provided bidding documents, site access agreements including City right-of-way, progress reports, budget spreadsheets, and various other relevant documents. Work activities included the removal of three underground storage tanks and associated contaminated soil, an asbestos survey and abatement, building demolition, and preparation of documentation to achieve regulatory closure of the petroleum releases discovered at the site.
After the cleanup activities were completed, the Land Bank Authority conveyed the vacant property to the private developer. The developer has plans to construct a new coffee shop and bakery on site.
This project shows how a public entity can take proactive measures to change the status of a property or neighborhood. As a public entity, the ability to receive public assistance to improve property or eliminate blighted conditions is a unique opportunity to influence the future use of property and promote redevelopment. Envirologic's expertise in brownfield redevelopment, Land Bank Authorities, and available resources was critical to the development and implementation of this redevelopment strategy.