General News

Posted on: June 12, 2017

Land Bank receives grant for blight redevelopment in Battle Creek, Albion

The former Washington School, recently purchased for use in a foreign exchange student program.

The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority and its coalition partners, the cities of Albion and Battle Creek, have received a $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The money will be used to fund environmental assessments on commercial properties.

“The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority is grateful for this grant from the EPA and we are eager to get to work with our coalition partners, the cities of Albion and Battle Creek, to assess environmental challenges in our County,” said Krista Trout-Edwards, executive director of the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority. “We’re proud to partner with local municipalities to target properties that will make the greatest impact on our communities.”

The $600,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant will allow the Land Bank and cities of Albion and Battle Creek to zero in on blighted commercial properties most in need of redevelopment.

“This grant will allow us to cover the cost of environmental assessments, help speed up the redevelopment of blighted commercial buildings and gain valuable data on distressed post-industrial sites,” said Ted Dearing, assistant city manager for community and economic development for the City of Battle Creek. “Partnerships like this go a long way to addressing blight in our communities, and assessing these commercial areas will make them more attractive to redevelopment, while also stabilizing the areas in and around our neighborhoods, one of our ongoing goals.”

The areas the Land Bank and coalition partners will target for environmental assessments include:

·         Harvard Industries:  A corridor approximately three-quarters of a mile long that extends from downtown Albion, along the Kalamazoo River, through residential neighborhoods and the former heavy metals manufacturing sites that were once the city’s economic backbone.

·         West Michigan/Hamblin Corridor:  A nearly 1 mile long corridor centered on the Kalamazoo River that is a primary entryway into the city and traverses one of the hardest hit residential neighborhoods in the city.

·         Brownlee Park:  An approximately 2 square mile blighted residential area bordered by abandoned landfills and junkyards and vacant commercial or industrial operations.

·         Other developable brownfield sites that become a priority during the grant cycle.

“We’re proud to partner with the Land Bank and City of Battle Creek to secure this grant and begin critical environmental assessments on these blighted areas,” said Garrett Brown, mayor of Albion. “These assessments will help take the guesswork out of the environmental condition of these sites and hopefully make them more attractive for redevelopment.”

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