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Contaminants found in north slip parking lot PDF Print E-mail
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Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 20:13

But city officials say minor levels shouldn’t be stumbling block in negotiations for Blues Factory project 

A recently completed environmental study of the north slip parking lot eyed for the Blues Factory shows that there is minor contamination of the former industrial site that is contained by the asphalt surface, which serves as a cap.

If the property is not developed, the city likely would not have to remediate it, the study states. But if it is developed, whatever soil is disturbed would have to be dealt with appropriately and the development would  likely serve as the new cap.

“The report looks pretty good,” Mayor Tom Mlada said. “There wasn’t the significant contamination we feared there could be.”

City Administrator Mark Grams agreed.

“There are some heavy metals, but they don’t seem to be concentrated,” he said, adding it does not appear that remediation would be a stumbling block to development of the property.

The city is negotiating with developer Chris Long to sell the parking lot for the Blues Factory, a Paramount Records-themed entertainment venue.

The city hired Konicek Environmental Consulting to conduct phase one and two environmental tests of the parking lot last spring, given the property’s previous life as a manufacturing facility — in part as home to the Wisconsin Chair Co., the parent company of Paramount Records.

Negotiations between the city and Long are continuing, Grams said, noting officials plan to meet with him this week.

“There are still things that have to be worked out,” he said. “We’re kind of getting to the nitty gritty.”

Finances have been the bulk of the negotiations so far, he said, noting work on a developer’s agreement for the project hasn’t started yet.

The potential remediation of the parking lot site is likely to be a topic of the negotiations. City officials have said they could potentially seek grants to pay for the work, although Grams said that if the contamination is minor that may not be necessary.

The Feb. 22 environmental report, compiled by Konicek Environmental Consulting, showed there was no methane or volatile organic compounds above regulatory standards.

Lead and another compound, PAH benzo flouranthene, were found to be above that level, the report states.

The major cause of concern is the PAH benzo flouranthene, which is a byproduct of combustion, said Greg Konicek.

The contamination that has been found is what is expected on a so-called brownfield site, he said, adding he would describe it as minor contamination.

“It’s almost commonplace in any pre-developed urban property,” Konicek said.

The Department of Natural Resources has opened a case file on the parking lot property, Konicek said, and will be seeking a report on the steps to be taken to close the case.

Retaining the parking lot as a cap would likely be enough to close the case file, he added, although any development of the property would reopen the case. The developer would then have to file a plan to deal with any soil that’s disturbed.

 
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