Craig awarded $300K Brownfields grant for downtown redevelopment
Craig has been awarded a Brownfields assessment grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help revitalize properties in Craig for redevelopment.
The city has been working with consultants from Ayres Associates, who were hired in summer 2021, to secure the highly competitive Brownfields funding.
“The city of Craig is a model city for this type of grant,” said Kristina Hiegel, senior engineer with Ayres Associates.
According to Hiegel, Craig is in a unique position to obtain grant funding to support redevelopment projects.
Hiegel explained that what makes a community competitive for Brownfields funding is being able to tell its story, and the community has a very compelling story.
The overarching aim of the grant seeks to, “propel the transformation of abandoned or idle properties into positive places that will contribute to greater vibrancy in Craig.”
Craig was awarded $300,000 for community-wide assessments over the next three years. The preliminary work on the grant has identified 12 different sites for phase one environmental assessments, and that’s just the beginning.
The assessments will focus on sites in two key areas of Craig — the downtown district and what is referred to as the depot district.
Described in presentation materials as, “where our community began, at the crossroads of Victory Way and Yampa Avenue,” the downtown district has several possible sites being explored.
Ayres Associates have created renderings of possible redevelopment for both the former Golden Cavy and Spicy Basil buildings downtown. There is also a concept drawing for improvements that could be added to Alice Pleasant Park.
The depot district encompasses the industrial area along the train tracks adjacent to Fourth Street between Green Street and Lincoln Street. There have been 12 potential sites identified in the depot district to assess for redevelopment.
According to Shannon Scott, Craig’s economic development manager, there are a couple of vacant sites in the depot district to assess for potential uses such as a convention center or a hotel.
Brownfields grants are typically used for sites that have either been contaminated or are thought to have contamination of some kind. The program focuses on areas where there may be remnants left by old rail yards, obsolete industrial plants, gas stations and manufacturing facilities.
Phase one assessments seek to identify sites for further research and investigation. Historical research is conducted to determine whether previous use of the site would require testing for contaminants. Once the information from phase one is compiled, there may be a phase two assessment to pull samples to confirm whether contaminants exist.
“We’re going through the process,” said Scott. “We’ve conducted 12 phase one assessments to date and our next step would be to determine whether any of those sites would require a phase two.”
There are many different projects that can be funded under the Brownfields grant to aid in the redevelopment of identified sites. For example, funding can be used for redevelopment planning for things like 3D renderings.
“What we can’t do with this funding is construction, but there are other sources that could fund construction once the assessment pieces have been done,” Hiegel said.
Scott explained that if an assessed site is confirmed to have contaminants, it would be eligible for remediation grants.
“We are pretty well staged to receive additional funding for remediation, as long as we are able to complete phase one and phase two of this grant,” Scott said.
Scott added that the city is still open to suggestions for how to direct funding on the project, as nothing is set in stone for the sites or possible developments.
A community meeting was held on Tuesday to collect feedback on the focuses of the grant, and the city will continue to accept feedback over the course of the grant.
“That’s the whole goal of this grant — we want to hear from the public and learn how they would like things to look,” Scott said.
To offer feedback on the Brownfields assessments, email Shannon Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any comments and feedback will be directed to the Steering Committee overseeing the grant.
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