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City accepts $300,000 grant from EPA to clean up waterfront property

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The city approved a $300,000 supplemental funding award on Thursday from the United States Environmental Protection Agency which will help clean up the former Augsbury Tank Farm site.

The new funding will target two properties within the Augsbury site that are owned by MCYC Corp. and the Kiwanis Club. The MCYC property is located at the intersection of Franklin Street and Riverside Avenue and the Kiwanis property is located adjacent to it, across from the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Elizabeth Street.

Both properties are located directly along the St. Lawrence River.

The Kiwanis Club took over its parcel from Piquet Pointe Inc. in 1994. City Manager John M. Pinkerton, a Kiwanis Club member, said there had been plans to turn the property into public ball fields, but the plans were scrapped due to the severity of the contamination.

Andrew L. Mitchell, president of the Kiwanis Club, said, “at this point, anything we can do to help the city” is what they want to do.

MCYC Corp. bought their parcel from Empire State LLC. in 1998.

“There are nine anomalies [in the Augsbury site] and of the nine we’ve determined there are seven priority anomalies,” Andrea L. Smith, city planning and development director, said. Those seven anomalies are located under the MCYC and Kiwanis properties, she said.

The anomalies “could be tanks that could still actually be leaking,” Ms. Smith said. “Possibly not, maybe it’s just an area of concentrated contamination. We’re not really sure what they are.”

Ms. Smith said the contamination appears to be largely petroleum but there are some heavy metals that are also adding to the problem.

Mr. Pinkerton said the new funding will enable the city “to remove some of the anomalies which will be fantastic.”

The goal is to get the properties fit for redevelopment, Ms. Smith said.

Once the pollution sources have been identified and removed, “Then you can start to develop a plan to develop the property and remove the contamination simultaneously which is the most cost effective way to do it,” Ms. Smith said.

Ms. Smith said the goal is to begin the process of removing the contamination in spring 2014.

“It’s another step forward,” Mayor William D. Nelson said.

The city is working on plans to redevelop the Marina District by the Ogdensburg dam, the former Diamond/Shade Roller property on the west side of the city and the former location of Fort de la Presentation as well.

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