The cities of East Point and College Park each received federal money Wednesday to help with redevelopment of contaminated areas.
The $1.1 million in grants to the two cities will help them assess the level of hazardous substances in the ground, and clean them up. The grants, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are meant to help revitalize unused properties.
In East Point, $300,000 will go toward creating cleanup plans for the Atlanta Utility Works site, the former General Chemical site and the former Owens Corning Manufacturing Plant. All three are in the Jefferson Park and River Park communities. The money can also be used for activities like community involvement plans and other outreach and economic analysis of the sites.
In College Park, $300,000 will go toward cleanup plans and site reuse plans for the city’s Convention Center area, Airport City and the downtown. Additionally, $500,000 will be used to clean up the College Park Golf Course, located at 3711 Fairway Drive.
While the area has been operating as a golf course since the 1920s, it was contaminated with methane gas, pesticides, lead-based paint and other contaminants because an area north of the course’s lake was used as a shooting range for the College Park police from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The city’s development authority will restore the soil and fix the methane contamination.
The funds will also allow the city to involve the community in the design of the 117-acre golf course.
College Park economic development director Artie Jones said the money would help enhance the environment as well as help with economic development. Oftentimes, he said, developers are wary of buying property because they would be responsible for any cleanup of contaminated land.
“It’s a barrier,” he said. “It’s an expensive process.”
Jones said the city expects to close the golf course for about two weeks in the fall while the cleanup occurs.
The grants in the two cities are among five that were announced in the state on Wednesday. Additionally, Columbus received $500,000 to clean up the state farmers market and the cities of Americus, Cordele and Vienna, and surrounding areas, received $600,000 to create cleanup plans in those areas.
The EPA gave out more than $64 million in grants to 149 communities Wednesday. They aim to help transform contaminated sites to areas that will bring economic development and create jobs, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release.
The EPA said the grants increase local tax revenue and residential property values as soon as a year after cleanup.
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