The cities of Battle Creek and Albion, along with the CCLBA formed a coalition to apply for its first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Assessment grant in 2016. This grant was utilized to assist buyers with environmental assessments for non-residential properties prior to purchase. Documenting current site conditions, these assessments allow buyers to obtain liability protection from any issues existing at the time of acquisition. This work also provides information on how a site can be used and ensures that any existing contamination is managed correctly and safely. Projects ranged from community spaces to downtown buildings to post-industrial sites. Through this grant, the Land Bank supported new projects as well as tackled properties in its own inventory. The original $600,000 grant served as an incentive for several important development projects, helped leverage other funding and created jobs in the process.
leveraged for assessment activities, demolition and redevelopment
111 additional anticipated
Union Steel is a prime example of a complex, environmentally challenged site. After closing in 1995 and languishing until foreclosure in 2014, this legacy issue was resolved in 2020 by a team effort with the Land Bank, the County Treasurer, the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners, and the City of Albion. Although interrupted by the pandemic, the Land Bank and its contractors persevered until the project was complete and the site was restored to greenspace. Now a priority site for the city, staff looks forward to this area’s next act.
“After decades long deterioration, the Union Steel site seemed insurmountable due to environmental issues and the enormous cost to demolish safely. The Land Bank diligently sought environmental and state funding while developing a partnership with the City of Albion, the County Treasurer, and the Board of Commissioners that, altogether, made the razing possible. The significance of this project for the future of Albion cannot be overstated.” Haley Snyder, City Manager, City of Albion.