Start of on-site work for downtown redevelopment effort hinges on funding to remove contaminated soil
A downtown redevelopment project in Grafton has been put on hold until next year as a developer seeks a grant to help defray the cost of removing contaminated soil.
Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said on-site work on the Lumberyard 1505 project on Wisconsin Avenue has been delayed until spring pending the outcome of an application for a Brownfields Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
Shaffer Development, which is planning Lumberyard 1505 as a mixed-use project on 4.7 acres of a former lumberyard, applied for a $500,000 grant for remediation work. The grant would help cover the cost of removing 9,500 cubic yards of contaminated soil and capping other soil, work that Hofland said is expected to cost at least $1.3 million.
“The Brownfields Grant is critical to the project,” Hofland said.
A decision on the grant application is expected by mid-December.
In October, the village received permission from the Department of Natural Resources to move contaminated soil from the project site to a parcel off Highway I south of Highway 60 in the Town of Cedarburg.
The village has negotiated with RR Excavating & Bulldozing, which owns the property, to dispose of the soil.
Environmental tests identified the soil as having polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organic compounds typically found in fossil fuels. Plans call for removal of 800 truckloads of PAH-contaminated soil to the Cedarburg property and two truckloads of PCB-contaminated soil to a licensed landfill.
The DNR has approved a remediation plan for the Lumberyard 1505 site. However, soil removal and construction work, which was originally expected to start this fall, remain on hold pending the outcome of the grant application.
“The village staff is optimistic that the grant will be awarded,” Hofland said.
The delay in on-site work may result in more favorable bids from construction firms this winter, he added.
The village assisted Shaffer Development in preparing the Brownfields Grant application. If the firm receives the grant, a cost-sharing plan for the remaining remediation costs will be negotiated by the developer and the village’s Community Development Authority, Hofland said.
The CDA negotiated the sale of the property to Shaffer as well as a development agreement for the project.
The village’s Plan Commission approved the Lumberyard 1505 project as a planned unit development, though no action has been taken by the Village Board.
Plans call for the project to be completed in phases. The first phase will be a four-story building south of Beech Street that has 72 apartments along with 10,000 square feet of first-floor retail space, underground parking and an outdoor patio.
Construction work and soil removal could be done concurrently, Hofland said. That would allow the first phase to be completed by the end of 2016, with landscaping work and occupancy in 2017, he noted.
The Lumberyard 1505 project is a centerpiece in the village’s downtown redevelopment efforts.