Contact(s): Christine Haag, Brownfields Section chief, 608-266-0244; Andrew Savagian, communications, 608-261-6422.
MADISON -- Two Wisconsin communities will benefit from Department of Natural Resources brownfields awards to help investigate contamination at two former manufacturing properties, soon to be destined for new life.
In Oshkosh, the Housing Authority seeks to convert the former Waite Grass Rug Factory into new housing, parking, daycare and office space. In Stoughton, the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority wants to clean up the former Millfab Holley Moulding property, getting that site ready for redevelopment.
Awards from the DNR Wisconsin Assessment Monies program comes in the form of contractor services, generally valued up to $35,000, for assessing conditions at these properties.
"The best thing about these WAM awards is that they may help make the difference between a property with historic contamination sitting idle and vacant or getting cleaned up and realizing a new purpose," said Christine Haag, chief of DNR brownfields section. "This is especially the case in smaller communities where resources and capacity to take on the challenges that come with brownfields are often strapped.
Administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program, WAM awards provide communities with professional environmental assessments of contaminated properties, helping them to turn the property around and get it ready for a new use.
The 5-acre former Waite Grass Rug Factory has been empty for nearly six years, formerly housing Lenox Candles, Gray Marine, and a machine shop. The city has updated the zoning from industrial to commercial to accommodate the current change.
Stoughton's 7-acre Millfab Holley Moulding property, located on the Yahara River, has had a variety of industrial uses dating back to the late 1800s. Over the years it housed farm equipment, painting and foundry industries, prior to its most recent use of manufacturing wood products. Previous investigations of the property have identified the presence of foundry sand fill, cinders and construction debris.
Participation in the WAM program requires minimal effort by local governments. Because there is no financial match or project administration involved, the award is an attractive opportunity for communities. In many instances, WAM awards are leveraged against other sources of funding to kick-start repurposing efforts on properties that may have been underutilized for many years.
Applications can be submitted for WAM awards at any time. Properties eligible for funding include closed or closing manufacturing plants, or vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners and salvage yards are not eligible.