By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

The city of Atlanta has been selected by the Environmental Protection Agency to receive $175,000 to participate in a project to turn contaminated brownfield areas into usable parkland and green spaces.

Atlanta is one of 23 communities around the U.S. selected for the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Pilot Program. The city applied in the spring for the $175,000 grant working in partnership with the Atlanta Development Authority and Georgia Tech.

“With the EPA grant we will be able to further assess brownfield areas along the Atlanta Beltline, Campbellton Road and Metropolitan Parkway,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.  “If we find contamination, we also plan to apply for additional funding to help abate and convert these brownfields into environmentally friendly parcels of land for green development.”

The city’s community development department has identified more than 25 brownfield sites to be included in the pilot project.

“We will be looking at former service stations and auto repair shops, vacant factories and warehouses, and other sites where soil contamination may have occurred that we can clean up and convert to green resources,” Planning Commissioner James Shelby said.

The next step is to create an area-wide plan to address issues such as assessment, cleanup, and reuse of the brownfields. A brownfield site is a property whose expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.