City seeks to promote development with new Brownfields Grant

By Kendra Caruso | Feb 25, 2020
Photo by: Kendra Caruso A crowd listens to Thomas Kittredge, standing, center, talk about the city's Brownfields Assessment Grant in council chambers Feb. 24.

Belfast — Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge hosted a meeting Monday about the city’s new three-year $299,994 Brownfields Assessment Grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A small crowd of brokers and interested residents attended.

The city has received previous brownfield grants, but it is increasing its efforts to promote the grant program to foster economic development, Kittredge said at the Feb. 24 meeting. Camoin Associates, based in Saratoga Springs, New York, is conducting a market analysis of the downtown area. The market study is being funded by the state.

The city hired Ransom Consulting to implement its Brownfields Assessment program. This type of grant has been used to assess and clean up environmentally degraded properties for commercial use since the start of the program in 2002, Ransom consultant Peter Sherr said. The Belfast Soup Kitchen’s new property received a Brownfields Assessment Grant, according to Sherr.

He said there are at least 450,000 brownfield properties in the U.S. The city has assessed over two dozen properties using grant funding since 2011, when it received its first grant, Kittredge said. He said Ransom has assessed even more Belfast properties in the last nine years.

The grant will pay for chemical assessments and cleanup of materials like leaked fuel, lead paint and asbestos. A phase one assessment takes about two to three weeks and a phase two assessment takes up to 12 weeks to complete, Sherr said.

Because the program is publicly funded, all documents and assessments related to a project are made public. The program goal is to identify relevant properties and make them more marketable.

The city has never been denied funding whenever it has applied for Brownfields Assessment Grants, Kittredge said. He anticipates that all of the funding will be used before the three-year grant expires.

Once a large amount of grant money is used, the city can reapply for another grant. Those interested in the program can call Kittredge at 338-3370, ext. 116, or email economicdevelopment@cityofbelfast.org. Sherr can be reached at peter.sherr@ransomenv.com or 772-2891.

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