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Indy gets $1.6M from EPA to address brownfields

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Indianapolis is launching a new strategy devoted to cleaning up abandoned industrial sites and sparking development in some of the capital city's most blighted neighborhoods — an effort that initially will draw on $1.6 million in new funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mayor Greg Ballard joined Susan Hedman, chief of the EPA's regional office in Chicago, and local officials Thursday in announcing the brownfield grants and the city's new initiative outside a weathered, long-shuttered building that once housed a heating and air conditioning operation.

Ballard said the new EPA funding would help clean up that site and others and help draw new development to the run-down neighborhood around the idled, debris-littered buildings.

"These sort of brownfields, these long-deserted sites that are often contaminated, get left behind, often wreaking havoc on neighborhoods so that blight and crime and environmental challenges replace what once was a thriving site," he said.

Hedman said Indianapolis had beat out strong competition to land a $1 million in EPA funds to create revolving loan funds to clean up hazardous substances and also petroleum productions. The city also won a $200,000 grant for planning the redevelopment and reuse of the neighborhood around the former Carrier-Bryant site that's been vacant since 2004.

Buildings at that 20-acre site have been found to contain asbestos and the site also encompasses drums and tanks containing hazardous substances, including the industrial solvent trichloroethylene.

Another $400,000 in grants will pay for conducting about 15 environmental site assessments and other remediation measures around Indianapolis.

Hedman said the city will tap its experience helping bring new shops, housing and entertainment venues to a neighborhood around a shuttered plant on Indianapolis' east side "as the model for new projects" in the United Northwest Area — the neighborhood surrounding the old Carrier-Bryant site.

Ballard said the EPA's brownfield program, which has helped clean up contaminated industrial sites and redevelop surrounding areas, will boost the city's redevelopment efforts.

"Sometime it just takes a little nugget, a little spark and the EPA has really provided that for us today," he said.

City officials also announced the creation of a new Brownfield Redevelopment office that will implement the new grants and focus on development opportunities in blighted areas near shuttered industrial sites.

The director of the city's Department of Metropolitan Development, Adam Thiese, said the new EPA grants provided "an excellent kickoff time" for that initiative, which had been in the works for a long time.

"Indianapolis has sites like this throughout many of our neighborhoods and we have to keep tackling them and keep working on them," he said.

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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

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  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

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