City manager Brian Muenger said Friday that Talladega and Dothan were the only two cities in Alabama that had been awarded Brownfield money this year. “There was less money for the program overall this year, and half of that was earmarked for cities that had not gotten grants previously,” Muenger said. “So the EPA likes the way we’ve handled this program so far.”
With the previous grant award, the city has gotten to phase two on two properties, including the abandoned Wehadkee building on Battle Street and the old dye plant. Phase one assessments are under way on 13 other properties in town, including some that have just agreed to participate in the last few months. The most recent additions are the old muffler shop across the street from the Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce building and the old Winn-Dixie shopping center.
“I think we have a real prospect for redevelopment of that property,” Muenger said.
He said he was particularly proud of the fact that the grant application had been written and was being administered entirely in-house. “We’re still working with a technical consultant, but the more we can do for ourselves, without hiring anybody outside that may be working on a dozen other projects at the same time, things work out better.”
The city’s previous Brownfield grant is still active, and will not be closed out until September, Muenger said.
“What the new grant will do is to allow us to continue what we’ve been doing uninterrupted,” he said. “And when the new money comes in, we will be able to expand the scope of what we started with the last grant. We started out focusing on the Battle Street corridor, but this will allow us to look at other parts of town, too. At all the EPA conferences, they always tell you that environmental contamination is not something you can ignore. This allows us to identify these contaminated sites and develop plans to clean them up.”
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