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DNR awards La Crosse $250,000 for cleanup at former manufacturing site

Contact(s): Christine Haag, DNR brownfields specialist, 608-266-0244

October 2, 2014 at 1:44:33 am

MADISON - Land adjacent to a pre-World War II manufacturing site in La Crosse is primed for redevelopment, thanks in large part to a quarter-million dollar award from the Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR's Ready for Reuse Program provides grants or no-interest loans to communities for environmental cleanup at contaminated properties. In La Crosse, the $250,000 will help pay for the removal and disposal of contamination generated from a former rubber mill that later became LaCrosse Footwear.

"These awards really help move the needle on local cleanup projects," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Cleaning up a site like this helps the city and its partners get this property back on the positive side of the economic balance sheet."

A mixed-use commercial and residential development is planned for the property once cleanup is complete, with an estimated increase to the property value of $40 to $60 million dollars.

In addition to the DNR, city officials have also partnered with the La Crosse Area Development Corporation and Xcel Energy.

"Our partnership with DNR on this project is invaluable," said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat. "The local DNR staff and the people in Madison put a lot of effort into making this cleanup a reality. The reuse of this property will enhance our city and the north side neighborhood for years to come."

This isn't the first time DNR and the La Crosse community have teamed up to address contamination at the 12-acre site. Known more recently as the Trane Plant #6 property, in 2009 DNR provided $250,000 via the Ready for Reuse Program to help demolish Trane's former manufacturing facility. Trane completed its portion of the cleanup.

The new project and funding helps address metals and PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) contamination discovered elsewhere on the property.

An additional $300,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is also helping cover the cost of cleanup at the site.

"The historic contamination was a big hurdle to redeveloping this site, but this award provided a tremendous incentive for interested developers," said James Hill, executive director of the La Crosse Area Development Corporation. "It's this kind of financial and technical partnership with DNR that is going to help create jobs and revitalize a part of our city that has been underused for too long."

Since 2004, DNR has awarded more than $8 million in Ready for Reuse grants or loans across the state to help clean up contaminated properties, also known as brownfields. The DNR's brownfields program is recognized nationally as a leader in redevelopment efforts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Haag, DNR brownfields specialist, 608-266-0244

Last Revised: Thursday, October 02, 2014

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