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August 21, 2012

MADISON -The city of Kenosha will receive more than $1.5 million for environmental cleanup work at the most severely contaminated areas of the former Chrysler Engine Plant, which closed in 2010.

This will be the largest loan the Department of Natural Resources has made for the cleanup of contaminated properties under its Ready for Reuse Grant and Loan Program.

The funds are used to tackle contaminated properties known as brownfields , which are abandoned, idle or underused commercial or industrial properties, where the expansion or redevelopment is hindered by real or perceived contamination.

"This loan helps the city to perform environmental triage on the "hot spots" at the former Chrysler Plant while the investigation and comprehensive cleanup plan for this massive site are finalized," said Darsi Foss, DNR Brownfields Section Chief for the Remediation and Redevelopment Program. "By loaning the city these funds, they can get to work right now and minimize the site's long-term costs and impacts."

Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman notes that the former Chrysler Engine Plant site is in the middle of the city and "was part of the life blood of the community. The community cannot afford to allow this significant land area to remain abandoned and in a state of decay," he says. "By working with partners like DNR, we believe we can successfully remediate and redevelop this location into a vital economic component of our city."

The loan will be used to fund the following immediate interim actions:

The engine plant had been in operation for more than 100 years, closing down in 2010. The site has chlorinated solvent and petroleum contaminants in the soil and groundwater, Foss says. Initial investigation indicates that contamination impacts are mainly contained to the engine plant site.

Assessment, demolition and clean-up activities at the site are expected to cost around $30 million, according to an estimate made by the city and the DNR in 2009, and will take an estimated five to 15 years to achieve. However, reuse of a portion or the entire site could take place sooner than that. This loan is expected to be used and repaid by July 23, 2017, five years after it was issued. Upon full repayment of the loan, DNR will re-grant more than $1.3 million back to Kenosha to continue remediation work.

Beyond the immediate actions, Foss said DNR will continue to work with the city on the technical, financial and outreach aspects of the project until the site is cleaned up. Demolition at the site is expected in the fall and winter. At that time, the property will transfer ownership from the Old Carco Liquidation Trust, the Chrysler bankruptcy trust, to either the city or a party named by the state. Once that occurs, the state, in cooperation with the city and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be able to access $10 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.

DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program facilitates the return of contaminated properties to environmentally safe and productive community assets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Darsi Foss, DNR, 608-267-6713.

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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