EPA grants local brownfield grant to library project
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced $467,000 in grants that would help clean up abandoned properties in West Virginia towns.
The Shepherdstown Public Library will benefit from $200,000 of those monies to put towards the brownfield site by the Clarion Hotel in hopes to prepare it for future development for the new library.
The Jefferson County Development Authority will accept the grant on the library’s behalf, as the library was ineligible to apply for the EPA awards. According to Tom Bayuzik, executive director of JCDA, the two entities developed a partnership, in which JCDA provided in-kind work, because the library benefits from funds from the Corporation of Shepherdstown and the site, which became polluted when it was a dump, once belonged to the town,.
Hali Taylor, library director, said that the grant allows for 20 percent of the funds to matched, which would then total $240,000 that would go towards cleanup of the site. The money will be dispersed to the JCDA in October and will be used to remove contaminants like arsenic, DDT and DDE, Taylor said.
“We view this as a wonderful win-win for the community,” Bayuzik said, noting the old town dump will be cleaned while the town will have a new library complex to accompany the downtown structure.
Taylor also said Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, has provided $7,000 in community participation project funds to the library project.
And, according to Patrick Kirby, director of the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center, who is working with Taylor, the library was also granted another $23,000 in remediation planning funding from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Kirby said the DEP grant will likely cover an engineering firm to best assess the total cost of cleanup and ways to remove waste.
With about $270,000 in grants going towards cleanup of the site where the new library will possibly developed, Taylor said the library board will continue its efforts to privately raise funds.
“We’re dedicated to this spot and even more so now,” she said.
The total cost of cleanup and development of the new building have yet to be determined, but Kirby said they are considering “worst-case-scenario numbers.” He said the cleanup is a way to prep the building site. He said more money could be spent during cleanup, which would in turn reduce developers’ costs during site plan development.
And Taylor is ready for the next steps of the project.
“This (grant) gives us a big push forward. It’s a big step, and we’re very excited,” she said.
Taylor hopes to engage the community in another meeting in the coming months to get more input on plans for the site and development. Kirby said he looks forward to hearing more from community members and has enjoyed working on this project for the past three years.
“It’s not can this happen,” he said. “This project is going to happen.”