Contaminated waterfront receives grant

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- After years of legwork, a contaminated riverfront is going to be cleaned up.

The city of La Crosse received a grant from the DNR to help clean up the old Patros scrap yard.

Right now what could be nice waterfront on the Black River is full of concrete and metal from the old Patros metal scrap yard.

The city says the ground has been contaminated by hazardous waste.

“When we bought the land there was contamination, we knew it was contaminated,” said Director of City Planning, Larry Kirch.

The federal funds, distributed through the DNR are available to clean up toxic sites called brownfields.

“What we have is a brown field it takes a lot of extra effort to clean it up,” said Kirch.

The actual clean up of the area might not happen until later this year.
“I think it won’t be until late summer or fall before we get a contractor,” said Kirch.

The DNR grant is only going to cover half of the cost to clean up the place. It’s estimated that it will be 500 thousand to clean up the whole area.

“This grant is to get them to the point where they are feeling comfortable so they can get this done. That’s part of the issue for most communities, with this economy dollars are tight all over,” said DNR Remediation and Redevelopment outreach specialist, Andrew Savagian.

When finished the city hopes the area will not only come back to life, but will draw people and businesses.

“We want to open this area to recreation and further east start redevelopment,” said Kirch.

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