In 1996, the City received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement its brownfields strategy. The goals of this strategy are to:

  • Return land to productive use.
  • Enhance the tax base.
  • Create jobs.
  • Clean the environment.
  • Remove blighted conditions.
  • Encourage sustainable development.

Considerable progress has been made toward achieving these goals at some of the sites. For example:

  • At the Spearflex Site (Site 1) the reuse plan has been prepared, the City has acquired the property, three of the buildings have been demolished, and repairs have been made to buildings that are to be saved.
  • The Northwest Unit Site (Site 4) on Blakesley Street has been acquired by Western Michigan University.
  • The one-acre site (Site 5) composed of nine lots in the northeast quadrant of North Westnedge Avenue and West North Street has been acquired by the City, the buildings have been demolished, and underground storage tanks have been removed.
  • The Fisher-Graff property action plan (Site 6) was completed, the City acquired the property, the above ground portion of the buildings has been razed, and the underground storage tank was removed. Alumilite Corporation has purchased the site for expansion of the company into a 10,000 square foot industrial and office building.
  • Willard/Walbridge Gateway (Site 9) has been acquired from the State and is the highest brownfield redevelopment priority.
  • The 22.8-acre former Panelyte site at Burdick Street and Inkster Avenue (Site 10) is a Superfund site owned by the State. The building has been demolished and contaminated barrels have been removed.

Also of importance, Michigan has two new laws to assist implementation of the BRI. The Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act provides a mechanism for the City to recapture state and local taxes from redevelopment contaminated sites in order to pay for necessary environmental response activities. Developers may get a credit against single business tax liabilities for improvements to contaminated properties.
Continuing interest is shown by developers and companies in reinvestments in the City's brownfields sites. Strides are being made in their cleanup and in demolition of obsolete and contaminated structures.

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