Courtesy: MGN

SALISBURY, Md. - The City of Salisbury says it has been selected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to receive close to $1.8 million in Brownfields Cleanup Grant funding.

According to the EPA, a brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Cleanup of these properties aims to foster job growth, utilize existing infrastructure, and protects the environment.

Salisbury is one on 262 US communities to receive the grant funding but the only one in Maryland to receive it this fiscal year.

The EPA’s grant will be used for cleanup efforts at the former SALKAP Lake Street Oil Tank Farm, according to the City. The Oil Tank Farm is located at 317 and 325 Lake Street. The site was home to a fuel tank farm with aboveground storage tanks and a waste oil processing facility until 1992. Cleanup will aim to remediate soil and groundwater contaminants left from the Oil Tank Farm to make the site a safe and long-term asset to the community, according to the City.

“Every neighborhood deserves this level of care and attention when it comes to the environment they live, work, and play in every day,” said Mayor Jack Heath. “Almost half of the residents in the Lake Street Neighborhood are children. With the help of this grant, these young people will grow up to see this eye sore and environmental blight cleaned from their streets. Thank you to the EPA for recognizing Salisbury for this generous investment.”

The SALKAP site was previously eyed in 2016 as an ideal location for an urban green space in Salisbury as part of the 20-year “Envision Salisbury” plan. 

According to Salisbury's district one councilwoman April Jackson, there were large amounts of spillage in the area from the tanks and she say its time the area gets revitalized.

"Well it should be revitalized because you want to up keep the neighborhood and the community. We shouldn't have things in our community that linger on and become eyesores. That has been an eyesore for numerous years and you know we've been neglected. That district has totally been neglected and it is time that something is truly done," says Jackson.

City administrator Andy Kitzrow says the plan is for the area to become a park.

"It's going to be a passive park. Maybe with some additional trails and maybe some amenities. We actually acquired a grant through program Open Space to acquire the properties right below it. Our goal is to have the properties on the western bank and then build this big comprehensive park there, " says Kitzrow.

Kitzrow goes on to say that the process will take years. He says, "This unfortunately is not the fastest process. The remediation should go rather quickly once we have the funding. But the large scale park is a longer burden. Probably more like 5 plus years  or closer to 10 for the full implementation. It all depends on how quickly we can acquire all the funding we need to redevelop for that site."

The EPA’s full announcement on brownfield cleanups can be read here

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