The project is funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program, which addresses “brownfield” areas where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of real property may be complicated by the presence, or potential presence, of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Examples include old rail yards, blacksmith shops, obsolete industrial plants, laundry operations, and manufacturing facilities. The program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. The city can use the grant funds for community outreach and planning and to conduct voluntary Phase-I and Phase-II environmental site assessments.
A primary project objective for the city is to bring even greater vitality to downtown Montrose, where land between the rail lines and the Uncompahgre River has hosted a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial uses. The need to address vacant and underutilized sites in this area is consistent with the Uncompahgre Riverway Master Plan, adopted in 2011, which describes opportunities to further enhance the river corridor and provide more connections to the river.
Public participation and open discussion are vital to the project’s success. Some rewards stemming from the assessment are beginning to be realized. Rewards include:
• Enhanced Quality of Place – Improving the vitality of downtown and creating connections to the river trail.
• Improved tax base – Putting new businesses on vacant and/or underutilized land.
• Economic gain – Increasing property values in neighborhoods surrounding improved areas.
• Increased tourism – Enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the community.
• Healthier environment – Cleaning up areas of contamination.
• Safer Neighborhoods – Rehabilitating neglected areas deters crime and brings safer neighborhoods.
• Community Pride – Establishing a place where people want to be.
The open house will be held on Thursday, January 19 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Proximity Space (201 E Main). A formal presentation will be given at 4:15 p.m. with the remaining time designated for public input.
For more information, contact Program Coordinator Erica Weeks at (970) 497-8525, or visit the project website at www.cityofmontrose.org/LoMo.