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HousingKitsap kicks off Brownfields groundbreaking ceremony

L-R 26th District Rep. Jan Angel, Paula Blake, Congressman Norm Dicks' representative, Susan Morales, from the EPA, HousingKitsap project manager Casey Pleskun, Blake Nelson from the state Dept. of Commerce, Port Orchard Mayor Mayor Lary Coppola, Tony Caldwell, execustuve director of HousingKitsap, Deborah Burgess from the EPA, and Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes of Grant Solutions.HousingKitsap held a groundbreaking ceremony on September 22 near the contaminated site located at 980 Mitchell Avenue where petroleum-related carcinogens and benzene concentrations above state soil cleanup levels remain onsite.

The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) representative Blake Nelson presented HousingKitsap Executive Director Tony Caldwell with a signed contract for $150,000 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Brownfields grant funds at the project’s kick-off.

In attendance were officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Susan Morales and Deborah Burgess, Paula Blake from Norm Dicks’ office, State Representative Jan Angel, Mayor Lary Coppola, HousingKitsap staff, the project team, Kitsap Homebuilders Association Executive Director Art Castle, and members of the public.

Mayor Coppola welcomed the guests to the city saying that, “I speak to you as both the Mayor and chair of HousingKitsap… that way you only have to listen to me once.”

Burgess has served as EPA’s project manager through both assessment and cleanup grants from 2004 until April of this year. She was also instrumental in helping the group through major obstacles including running out of money to complete the cleanup.

Dicks’ office spoke to the importance of getting this major project completed as did Representative Angel. The project is a great example of federal and state coordination.

HousingKitsap is a sub-recipient of a grant awarded to Commerce and funds are provided through a cooperative effort between the EPA and coalition partners. Most of these funds are revolving loan funds, but a small amount was available as grants.

The site construction was undertaken by Port Orchard’s RV & Associates with oversight by Kennedy Jenks Environmental and on-site analysis provided by Libby Environmental Testing, a woman-owned business enterprise out of Olympia.

The major site work occurred September 27 through 30 and site stabilization, using low-impact-development (LID) strategies, will continue over the following months. James Gerlach, an expert in LID, will work for Grant-Solutions using a combination of grant purchased, in-kind, and volunteer efforts to install and establish native plant materials.

For more information about the Mitchell project, you may contact KCCHA project director Casey Pleskun at (360)535-6130 or project manager Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes at (360)697-5815 or by email to grantsolutions [at] comcast [dot] net.

For information about the Brownfields RLF, got to the webpage located at: www.commerce.wa.gov/brownfields or contact Dan Koroma (360) 725-4062, or email daniel [dot] koroma [at] commerce [dot] wa [dot] gov; or Blake Nelson (360) 725-4050, email blake [dot] nelson [at] commerce [dot] wa [dot] gov.

The third annual Brownfields Redevelopment regional conference, sponsored by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and Washington State Department of Ecology will take place October 5-6 at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center at 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402.

The pre-conference workshops, beginning on October 6 from 1-5 p.m., features state and federal agencies as well as local Kitsap County experts; Grant-Solutions’ Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes and Bremerton Housing Authority’s Nancy Rees-Austin. The two special workshops will be break-out sessions presented at the same time.

Workshop #1; Telling Your Story, Writing Your Grant (for communities), will also allow participants to get their grant applications reviewed by state, federal, and local presenters. Workshop #2; Creating Winning Proposals (for service providers) will be presented in partnership with the Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR), and be geared towards helping contractors prepare for and submit proposals to agencies or grant recipients.

Full conference information can be found at www.nebc.org/content.aspx?pageid=67.

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