May 13, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Awarded Grant Funds for Environmental Remediation

TOPEKA, Kan.-- The Kansas Brownfields Program has been selected to receive $600,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) Grants program. Brownfield sites are real property where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the site may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The potential liability associated with contamination complicates business development, property transactions, or expansion on these properties.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Bureau of Environmental Remediation (BER) collaborated with the City of Chanute, the Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority, and the City of Ottawa to submit a Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant application in November 2012. The ARC grant process is part of an annual national competition, and KDHE, along with its coalition partners, is one of the 240 selected recipients in 45 states to receive ARC grants for 2013. This grant will allow KDHE to reach out to more neighborhoods that might not otherwise have access to resources to address redevelopment of blighted areas in their communities.

"Receiving this funding allows the KDHE Brownfields Program the opportunity to further enhance our existing program and continue assisting rural-based communities in Kansas to perform remedial action planning for the redevelopment of underutilized property," said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.

A majority of the ARC grant funds will be used for the assessment and cleanup planning of approximately 60 brownfields properties located within the coalition target communities of Chanute, Fort Scott and Ottawa. Eight properties have already been identified in Chanute. Upon completion of the brownfields process, future use of these properties may include, but are not limited to, manufacturing, community centers, greenspaces and recreational areas.

The Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority has identified approximately 26 acres of vacated riverfront property adjacent to the Marmaton River that has been slated for redevelopment. The Fort Scott Riverfront Development Concept Plan consists of waterfront features, recreational and picnic areas, a botanical garden, open greenspaces, and pedestrian/bike trails that seamlessly connect the river with the historic downtown district. Since environmental concerns and financial obstacles hinder redevelopment in this area, receiving this grant provides the Riverfront Authority the means to complete the necessary environmental assessments and cleanup planning.

Approximately 33 brownfields properties have been identified in Ottawa within the city's historic downtown district. ARC grant funding will be used to assess former downtown properties that have been vacated, partly due to the U.S. 59 bypass which now directs traffic around Ottawa instead of through downtown. Following the brownfields assessment process, properties will be available for redevelopment, which may include commercial and retail businesses, restaurants, low-income housing, walking and bike trails, a community center, and small community gardens.

While most of the assessment funds will be used in coalition areas in Chanute, Fort Scott and Ottawa, remaining funds will be applied across Kansas.