Leah Thill, Director of Sustainability with MACOG (Michiana Area Council of Governments) appeared before the Marshall County Commissioners last week and told them in 2018 the county joined the Regional Brownfields Coalition led by MACOG. They’ve been looking for properties that can assist with redevelopment if they are complicated by contamination or potential contamination.
The example she gave was the property at 123 East Washington Street at the intersection with Water Street. They are conducting sampling to see if that site could be repurposed for residential. She said they also assisted Habitat for Humanity at the single-family home site on Garro Street.
Thill said, “If the previous site has been industrial, commercial, or has the potential to have contamination we can help.”
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked if the Brownfield program has been used on the former Indiana Heat Transfer site on Harrison Street. Thill said it comes up in almost every conversation but, “With the status of that project and IDEM being involved we can’t help out when there’s potentially a responsible party that should be addressing that issue.” She said they do more abandoned sites where the owner is around to step in and take responsibility then this grant funding can assist.
Last Monday she was looking for a letter of support to include in their application to apply for a $1.5 million grant. She said it would be for the whole region with funds being available over the next 4-years for projects that may come up.
Commissioner Stan Klotz asked if there were any projects on the radar right now and Thill said they are looking at a couple of sites in Argos that were former gas stations near the downtown. She said they can do sampling and if there are tanks that need to be removed they can assist with that if funding is an issue.
Marshall County Commissioner Mike Burroughs motioned to provide a letter of support for the $1.5 million grant application and his motion was seconded by Kevin Overmyer. The commissioners approved the letter of support with a 3-0 vote.
A portion of the letter states, “Marshall County and its municipalities will benefit from access to grant funding as needed, without the administrative burden of securing and overseeing a dedicated assessment grant. Recent successes under the Regional Brownfields Coalition include a single-family home built by Habitat for Humanity of Marshall County and sampling underway at a vacant, former manufacturing building in downtown Plymouth proposed for multi-family housing.”