• WisBusiness

Gov. Doyle: Governor Doyle Announces New DNR Grants to Help Clean Up Brownfields for Public Use

Darsi Foss, Department of Natural Resources, 608-267-6713

Jessica Erickson, Governor's Office, 608-261-2156

FOND DU LAC - Governor Jim Doyle today announced Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grants totaling $250,000 to the communities of Fond du Lac and Oshkosh to help clean up contaminated properties for public use.

The grants - the first of their kind in the nation - are part of DNR's Greenspace and Public Facilities Grant Program, aimed at helping communities add public spaces and public buildings to urban areas through brownfields cleanup and reuse. Brownfields are abandoned, idle, or underused industrial or commercial properties where redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived contamination.

"Re-using urban brownfields and turning them into parks, public libraries, and soccer fields is critical to growing Wisconsin's economy," Governor Doyle said. "This new program helps communities rid themselves of environmental threats and blighted sites, and replace them with new green spaces and public facilities, spurring neighborhood improvements and attracting new homeowners and businesses. National studies have shown that the closer residential housing is to open spaces or parks, the higher the property value becomes."

The Governor noted that the state received applications for almost twice as much funding as was available under the new grant program.

Grant recipients are required to match state funding with 20-50 percent of their own dollars. Private investment stimulated by these redevelopment projects may lead to millions more in local improvements.

"These communities went above and beyond the required contribution and, combined with other potential state and federal grants, these projects will be great catalysts for future growth," the Governor said.

The two grants will lead to the reuse of 18 acres of property. The grant recipients have already performed environmental assessments for each project. The local governments will now apply the new Greenspace and Public Facilities grants toward developing control and cleanup measures for soil and groundwater that contains hazardous substances.

The communities and projects receiving Wisconsin's first Greenspace and Public Facilities grants include:

Oshkosh: Riverside Park, $200,000 - Oshkosh is expanding Riverside Park with a new amphitheater and developing a river-walk and convention center on the site of several brownfields, including one that contained a coal gas production plant. The City of Oshkosh will match the state funds with $300,000.

Fond du Lac: Park and Trail, $50,000 - Fond du Lac is turning the former Quick Freeze site into a small park with a trail along the Fond du Lac River. A portion to the east will be privately developed for multifamily housing or other uses. The City of Fond du Lac will match the state funds with $18,872.

A total of 11 applicants will receive Greenspace and Public Facilities grants in 2004. Governor Doyle plans to award additional grants later in the year.

More information about Greenspace and Public Facilities grants and other potential brownfield funding is available on DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program web site at www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/aw/rr/financial/index.htm.

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