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City gets Brownfields grants for vacant properties

PASCAGOULA — The city of Pascagoula has funds available that could help landowners who want to develop a vacant building or site.

Pascagoula has two Brownfields grants —- for $200,000 each — from the EPA to be used for environmental assessments, one for petroleum sites and the other for hazardous waste.

“You get these properties that just sit vacant, no one will develop them. But we’re blocked off on all sides. We need to fill in all these properties around town,” Jen Dearman, the city’s community and economic development director, told The Sun Herald.

The city is focusing on the riverfront and Central Business District but officials won’t identify specific properties.

Typical properties that raise red flags for environmental concerns are where there is a history of automobile repair shops or garages, dry cleaners or industrial sites, Dearman said.

The city will hold periodic public hearings to get input and to give information to interested property owners.

Officials hope to do 15 Phase 1 environmental assessments, which is an initial survey of property, and five Phase 2 assessments, which go a little deeper on the property if a problem is found.

“We expect some hesitancy from property owners,” Dearman said, because if a problem is found, it will have to be remediated.

While the funds in this grant are for assessment, not remediation, the city will work with property owners if problems are found, officials said.

There are now Brownfield grants available for some remediation, Huffman said.

And, with property owners’ buy-in, the city can put together a remediation plan to seek other grants, and work with private businesses to “make it bigger and better.”

“Even if we can’t provide funding for the cleanup, it’s helpful to have the assessment,” Dearman said. “Eventually, down the line, it will come up. Let us work with you and help get this done.”


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