Grants to clean up polluted sites lead to jobs, prosperity

Date: Friday, January 19, 2024

Cleaning up brownfields, or polluted land, checks all kinds of boxes, from eliminating dangerous contaminants from the environment to redevelopment and job creation, adding to the tax base, and increasing area property values.

An artist rendering of a new apartment complex. A parking lot stands in front of the complex and several trees line the surrounding boulevard.Met Council investment in brownfield cleanup over nearly 30 years has resulted in the reuse of hundreds of acres, the creation of thousands of jobs, and the ability to leverage billions of dollars in investment from other public and private investment.

On January 10, the Council continued its commitment to brownfield cleanup, awarding $2.8 million in Livable Communities funds to nine metro area cities, including Bloomington, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Newport, North Saint Paul, Saint Paul, Shoreview, and South Saint Paul.

“Investment in cleaning up polluted sites provides countless benefits,” said Met Council Community Development Executive Director Lisa Barajas. “Removing contaminants opens the door to reusing land versus leaving behind acres and acres of underused and polluted property. It enhances neighborhoods, contributes to livability and the economy, and supports reusing land in areas that are already well-served by existing infrastructure.”

Barajas says this round of grant awards will result primarily in new housing, including affordable housing, which is high in demand. But the grants will also produce new industrial, office, and retail space in areas that housed former gas stations, a landfill, and other industrial uses.

Grants for contamination cleanup go to nine cities

An artist rendering of a new apartment building. A pedestrian bicyclist and walker are in front of the bulding.Minneapolis Snelling Yards Family Housing, City of Minneapolis: $223,800 toward cleanup at a vacant 1.2-acre location on East 44th Street, the site of a former public works maintenance facility, for construction of 90 mixed-income apartments, including 69 affordable apartments and 21 market-rate units.

Soul Apartments, City of Saint Paul: $394,300 for remediation at a 2.9-acre site where a mixed-use building is under construction. The area is the site of various industrial and storage uses and will house 178 affordable apartments.

Gladstone Village, City of Maplewood: $100,000 toward cleanup of various pollutants, including asbestos in the existing building, for construction of 65 affordable apartments.

Gladstone Crossing, City of Maplewood: $196,100 toward abatement and cleanup of contaminated soil on 1.6 acres that includes a vacant building. The site will house 40 affordable apartments.

Rice Street Crossings, City of Shoreview: $147,800 for mitigation at a vacant 11-acre site, the location of a former public maintenance and storage facility. Construction includes 253 mixed-income apartments, including 51 affordable units, 202 market-rate units, and 9,000 square feet of retail space.

Wakota Logistics Center, City of South Saint Paul: $814,700 for remediation at a vacant 15.6-acre site that was home to a wastewater facility and a demolition landfill. The site will house a 182,700-square-foot multi-tenant industrial space.

Stinson Apartments, City of Minneapolis: $259,600 for cleanup at the site of a former gas station. Construction includes 24 mixed-income apartments including five affordable units.

7th Ave Redevelopment, City of North Saint Paul: $191,300 for cleanup at a 0.7-acre location under construction that previously housed various retail businesses and a gas station. Construction includes 82 market-rate apartments.

Red Rock Villas, City of Newport: $88,100 for remediation at an 8.4-acre site that previously housed an auto repair shop and storage. Construction includes 143 market-rate, single-story and rowhouse apartments in four buildings. Nearly half of the units are intended for tenants 55 and older.

Residential Apartment & Daycare, City of Bloomington: $228,000 for remediation at a vacant seven-acre site that housed commercial fitness centers. Construction includes 201 mixed-income apartments, including 19 affordable units, and an 11,000-square-foot daycare.

O'Shaughnessy Distillery Expansion, City of Minneapolis: $125,100 for remediation at a vacant 1.2-acre site next to the existing distillery that housed various industrial uses. Construction includes a 24,200-square-foot warehouse addition with office space, delivery area, and open space.

Finally, the Met Council awarded $50,000 to the City of Saint Paul for continued environmental investigation supporting the Hamm’s Brewery Redevelopment. This award falls into the category of grants called “Seeding Equitable Environmental Development” (SEED). It’s investment that encourages development within and near areas that show low levels of building permit activity, concentrations of low-wage jobs, and concentrations of people of color and low-income households. These are sites that show potential for job or housing creation. To be eligible and compete for Livable Communities funding, metro area cities must participate in the Livable Communities program. 75 cities and 1 township participated in the Livable Communities program in 2023.

Posted In: Communities

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