City council discusses Brownfields Grant, expenditures at meeting
Published 10:43 am Thursday, May 31, 2018
The City of Greenville has secured an EPA Brownfields Grant to help perform Phase 1 and Phase 2 assessments on the vacant Boss Manufacturing building, located across from Beeland Park on Commerce Street.
The building, once a glove manufacturing plant, has long since fallen into disrepair. The city has declined to buy or take over the location due to liability issues and the risk of the high costs of assessing, decontaminating and/or removing the building and announced the grants during.
However, the grant, totaling $300,000, will be used to hire engineers to assess any contamination at the location and the potential cost of and any work that needs to be done in hopes of one day having the building torn down. The Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties.
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Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said improving the Boss building location is something he has wanted to do for 25 years. He recalled being 15 years old working at Piggly Wiggly and seeing employees of the once bustling factory come in to shop.
“At 4:00 o’clock on Friday afternoon, everybody got paid and they all came to buy groceries,” he said earlier this week. “We would stand there and wait for 4:00 because that floor would be packed. (The building) has been on my list; when I was a city councilman that was my district.”
McLendon learned about the grant while attending a leadership conference
“I felt like I won the lottery I was so excited,” he recalled of learning that the grants could be used for the Boss building location.
“We applied last year and got turned down, which is pretty common the first time,” McLendon added. “But the second year, we were expecting to get it and we did.”
The grants will offer the city an opportunity to assess contamination without having to own or otherwise be liable for the site.
“Any time you have a building that might have some environmental issues, you don’t want to own that building,” McClendon said. “We got the owner to declare that he would allow us to see if we could get a grant. If we owned it, the federal government would make us pay, which, if there’s bad stuff in there, you might be talking about $3 or $4 million to clean it up.”
A Brownfields site is defined by the EPA as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, controlled substances, petroleum or petroleum products, or is mine-scarred land,” and is intended to “ensure that residents living in communities historically affected by economic disinvestment, health disparities, and environmental contamination have an opportunity to reap the benefits from brownfields redevelopment.”
“For the phase 1 assessment, they will test it, check it, test the water, take ground samples – see what’s there and what it will take to clean it up,” McLendon said.
Further Brownfields Grants are available after the initial assessment, including grants for cleanup and revitalization.
In other business, the council:
- Approved the purchase of two new Exmark Lazer X lawn mowers at a cost of $9,217 each from Greenville Equipment Center. One of the mowers was budgeted for the horticulture department, while the other was non-budgeted and used to replace an old mower in the recreation department.
- OK’d the payment of $2,532.58 to Greenville Tire for replacement of a transmission in a truck in the recreation department.
- Paid $1,554.54 to City Wholesale Grocery for concessions at the Greenville Sportsplex, Beeland Park and Dunbar Park, as well as, $6,009 for the 2017-18 final billing for the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund. Both items were budgeted.
- Approved a payment of $2,168.95 to Physio-Control for repair of an LP15 monitor/defibrillation
- Paid an invoice for $2,000 to Computer Software Innovations for accounting software migration for a new server.
- Refunded a tax overpayment to KeyBank National Association in the amount of $2,855.61 for refund of rental tax overpayment.
- Announced that all city offices would be closed on Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day.
The next city council meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on May 21.