Madison is getting a $300,000 federal grant for environmental assessments and remediation planning on contaminated industrial and commercial properties on the fledgling South Park Street corridor, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced Thursday.
The area, once dubbed “Gasoline Alley” for its many gas stations and auto repair shops, is undergoing significant change with recent and planned redevelopment.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency brownfield grant will be used to investigate the extent of the contamination as a first step toward redevelopment, Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. Such EPA grants can help transform contaminated sites into more productive uses, she said.
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“Madison’s vision for the South Park Street corridor is a vibrant, mixed-use, affordable, transit-oriented neighborhood commercial district,” Rhodes-Conway said.
“We are working on improving the area for the community that lives and works there. These funds will allow us to identify any site contamination issues that might get in the way of that, so we can focus on building capacity in the area and work on development without displacement.”
The city received $800,000 of EPA brownfield funding in 2012, which was instrumental in the redevelopment of a stretch of East Washington Avenue as part of the now-booming Capitol East District. The city had acquired properties in the corridor once used for auto dealerships that, after remediation, were transformed with towering mixed-used projects offering commercial space and housing.
Brownfields are abandoned or underused commercial or industrial properties where the expansion or redevelopment of the sites is hindered by real or perceived contamination, the statement said. In Wisconsin, there are an estimated 10,000 brownfields, many of them in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities, according to the statement.