Contact(s): Christine Haag, Brownfields Section chief, 608-266-0244; Andrew Savagian, communications, 608-261-6422
MADISON - Baraboo could reap much needed benefits from a Department of Natural Resources brownfields award that will help the city gain a better understanding of possible contamination at an abandoned property on the city's north side.
The award to the city is for environmental professionals to determine if any soil or groundwater contamination exists at Ringling Manor. The one-acre property has been vacant for almost 20 years, after serving the community as a hospital, nursing home and convent since the 1920s.
The DNR Wisconsin Assessment Monies award to Baraboo, valued up to $5,000, comes in the form of contractor services for assessing conditions at the site.
"Ringling Manor once stood as a testament to the philanthropy of one of Baraboo's great families, but has now fallen into disrepair and has become a potential health hazard after years of vacancy," said Christine Haag, chief of the DNR Brownfields Section. "This award could help pave the way for Baraboo to eventually repurpose the property to suit today's needs."
Administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental assessments of contaminated, or potentially contaminated, properties, helping them to redevelop sites for a new use.
WAM applications require minimal effort by local governments because there is no financial match or project administration involved, making it an attractive opportunity for small communities. In many instances, WAM awards are also leveraged against other sources of funding to kick-start repurposing efforts on sites that may have been community eyesores for many years.
Applications can be submitted for a WAM award at any time, although funds are limited. Eligible sites for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners, salvage yards and agricultural co-ops are not eligible.