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October 14, 2014

MADISON - On the north edge of Stevens Point's historic downtown sits a vacant lot that for nearly a century was the home of Lullabye Furniture Co., one of the country's most well-loved makers of infant and children's furniture. Today the property is getting cleaned up and readied for the next chapter, thanks in large part to the Department of Natural Resources.

With the help of a $155,000 Ready for Reuse grant from the DNR, the city will clean up chlorinated solvents and lead on the long-abandoned four acre site. The agency has $1.5 million in Ready for Reuse grants and no-interest loans for communities looking to clean up petroleum or hazardous substances.

"DNR is proud to be a partner in the economic revitalization efforts in Stevens Point," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Partnerships with communities on economic development and environmental protection are a big part of Your DNR. I look forward to seeing the progress made on this site."

The city is matching the Ready for Reuse grant with as additional $34,000 of its own capital. Once the property is redeveloped, city officials anticipate the value of the property will increase by $5 million or more. The city has already listed the site on its website of available properties to purchase, describing it as having "great potential for multi-purpose use" and being "in the heart of the city."

"We are excited at the prospect of turning a once vibrant and important piece of our city's history back into productive use," said Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson. "The closing of Lullabye Furniture was a blow to this community, but we can rebound from that day through our partnership with DNR to clean up this site and get it ready for a future developer."

A separate DNR award of more than $47,000 from the agency's Wisconsin Assessment Monies program helped the city investigate and evaluate the contamination on the site.

"Working with DNR, Stevens Point has a great site on the fringe of its downtown district that is about to become a lot better," said Darsi Foss, director of DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program. "City leaders are taking extra steps to ensure that this cleanup work meets high standards and will be very attractive to potential developers."

The city's Redevelopment Authority plans clean ups of the property under the state's Voluntary Party Liability Exemption program. Under the program, the property will be thoroughly investigated for historical contamination and cleaned up with state oversight.

With Voluntary Party Liability Exemption, the DNR provides clear and certain assurance that all contamination on a property has been cleaned up to the satisfaction of the state and provides liability exemption for current and future owners.

In the last decade, DNR has awarded nearly $8.5 million in Ready for Reuse grants or loans across the state to help clean up contaminated properties, also known as brownfields. The Wisconsin DNR's brownfields program is an award-winning national leader in these redevelopment efforts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Darsi Foss, DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program director, 608-267-6713; Christine Haag, Ready for Reuse Program manager, 608-266-0244; Andrew Savagian, communications, 608-261-6422

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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