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Local News

Century Seeks 'Brownfield' Grant

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The Town of Century is seeking a $400,000 federal grant, to help develop and manage development under the umbrellas of its Brownfields designation.

The former Alger-Sullivan Company site – where a lumber mill operated during the first 60 years of the 20th century – was the first site listed as a Brownfields. Other firms locating there also made wood products until the early 1990s. Century Mayor Freddie McCall says they could hear something on the EPA grant next month.

Thanks to a 2005 state provision, the “Brownfield” designation was expanded to the entire town. It carries bonuses for job creation, loan guarantees, sales tax credits and other incentives for business location.
And just what are “Brownfields?” We put that question to Margaret Olson, at the Environmental Protection Administration’s office in Atlanta.

“A brownfield site is defined as real property,” said Olson, “the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, controlled substances, petroleum or petroleum products or as ‘mine-scarred land.’”

The goal of the EPA program is to re-develop such sites into the productive community assets. Olson says the $400,000 being sought by Century is called “assessment funding” – money which would go towards developing a cleanup plan and then carrying out the plan.

The agency also works with similar programs by its state counterparts – in this case the Florida Department of Environmental Protection – along with those at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Enterprise Florida, and local governments.

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a conditional closure at the Alger-Sullivan site five years ago, after cleanup of soil and groundwater. While other firms have shown some interest, none followed through. And the realtor which represents the property owner tells NorthEscambia.com that there are no pending offers.