City Manager Bill Mayo is filing for funding for a Brownfield assessment of several properties in the downtown area.
According to Mayo, there are at least ten such properties, such as the old school across from the mill, an old oil tank site next to the wastewater treatment plant, and a property on the corner of South Main and Chester Street.
Brownfields are defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency as properties where reuse may be complicated by the presence of hazardous materials. Cleanup efforts can salvage them, and the properties in Old Town seem to fit the bill, according to Mayo.
“They all have typical problems found with Brownfield sites, such as lead or old oil tanks that could leak,” said Mayo. “Some of them have been abandoned for at least ten years.”
The city received a Brownfield grant to help clean up the former Old Town Canoe site, which was dumped onto the city’s hands after no buyer could be found for that property. Funding for the assessment of the additional sites was initially sought last year; applications are judged on a scoring system, and Old Town just missed out, making Mayo hopeful the second time around will be the charm.
“As we’re trying to move forward, it ties into what we’re doing with finding ways to revitalize the downtown,” said Mayo. “Hopefully, we’ll get the grant this year.”
Mayo said the amount being sought for the assessment is $400,000; whether the city is selected for the funding won’t be known until sometime this spring. After the assessment, additional funding could then be sought for the actual cleanup, said Mayo.

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