Milwaukee granted money to clean up idle sites, open them for business

MILWAUKEE -- The EPA has granted the city of Milwaukee hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up environmental pollution and open idle sites in the city to business development.

The city has been granted $400,000 to clean up petroleum contamination in the 30th Street industrial corridor in Milwaukee. The expanse of property near 30th Street in Milwaukee is not being used because it is considered a "brownfield" -- an industrial or commercial site sitting idle because of environmental pollution.

"While we understand this site is complex and has some environmental challenges, we do not see these as insurmountable," Eric Nitschke with the Wisconsin DNR S.E. Regional Office said.

Thursday, September 20th, a news conference was held at Century City, where Tower Automotive once operated to announced the EPA is granting the city of Milwaukee hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the pollution cleaned up. In addition to the $400,000, $200,000 has been granted toward environmental job training.

"The city will use this funding to train at least 80 Milwaukee residents for environment remediation work and other green jobs," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Some of this training is already underway.

"I think grants like this benefit a lot of young people like myself. I think grants like this is good for the community," trainee James Morton, Jr. said.

Another $200,000 EPA grant will be used to clean up hazardous substances at the Esser Paint site on North 32nd Street and West Galena.

A fourth grant from the EPA is a $500,000 brownfield revolving loan fund, which can be used to clean up other contaminated sites in Milwaukee. When borrowers repay the loans, funds will be available to other borrowers.

"EPA's Brownfields Program is one of our greatest success stories. When we transform brownfields into thriving residential, commercial and manufacturing districts we make our environment healthier and our economy stronger," EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman said.

Once the pollution is cleaned up at these brownfield sites, the city plans to build infrastructure and market the sites for business development.

Mayor Barrett said he hopes the sites are ready by summer 2013.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the EPA Brownfields Program.