City Offers Cash Incentives To Try And Breathe New Life Into Brownfield Sites

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 30, 2012 Updated Apr 30, 2012 at 5:24 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A vacant piece of land that's possibly plagued by contamination is something leaders of any city would like to fix.

Cash incentives in a Fort Wayne program are designed to get “problem properties” on the road to rehabilitation.

A YMCA just south of Creighton Avenue is a credit to its neighborhood.

But it didn't always look so good.

When a tire recycling operation at the same address caught fire in the 1990's, it left behind a contaminated mess.

The transformation to the YMCA is one of the city's best Brownfield success stories.

City Redevelopment Director Greg Leatherman hopes there's more where that came from.

The city in 2012 is offering $230,000 in CEDIT grants to prospective buyers of Brownfield properties.

Up to $20,000 per site can be requested for environmental testing, and up to $30,000 per site can be used to help cleanup leftover pollution.

To qualify, the land has to be located within city limits.

Greg Leatherman/Fort Wayne Redevelopment Director: " It also has to be an applicant that did not have responsibility for the contamination in the first place, so if you're going to buy a property, before you do, you might want to get it tested, it's a good idea, and we can help you provide funding for some of that."

A neighborhood health clinic on South Calhoun, that is being expanded, is another Brownfield rehab winner.

Among the sites on the city's radar for future Brownfield improvements, includes the sprawling General Electric complex on Broadway.

Besides the city grants, the EPA offers some financial assistance options on sites potentially contaminated by petroleum or other hazardous substances.

You can visit www.fwbrownfield.org for more information on turning unsightly properties into something the community can take pride in.

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