The Genesee County Land Bank Authority (GCLBA) and the Genesee County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (GCBRA) have secured $8.34 million dollars in brownfield funds to eliminate blight and improve abandoned and tax foreclosed properties in Genesee County. Demolishing blighted structures and cleaning up brownfields helps to restore value to urban land and speed up the process of returning tax foreclosed, contaminated and abandoned properties to productive use. The LBA brownfield program staff also serve as staff to the Genesee County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority
| Getting Federal Dollars to Genesee County: ||Top
The GCLBA and the GCBRA secured the following Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants to address the many challenges associated with abandoned, blighted and contaminated properties in Genesee County:
CleanUp Grant for Spring Grove and Stockton Center, Flint
EPA provided funding to cleanup 4.4 acres of contaminated wetland property located behind the historic Stockton Center. The site, located in downtown Flint, will be converted into a natural area with an environmental education center. Trails on the site will connect to the Flint River Trail and a larger regional bike trail system.
Historically, the site was used as a coal yard and later as a city landfill with two rail lines running through the property. A bulk fuel storage area on an adjoining property is an environmental concern.
The EPA Cleanup grant will enable the Land Bank to work with the Grand Traverse District Neighborhood Association and the Stockton Center to remediate the site and lay the foundation for restoring the native habitat and the 1 acre of wetlands on the site overrun by invasive species. Graduate students from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment developed plans for the site that will guide the wetland restoration and remediation plans. Once the cleanup is complete, the partners will seek additional funding to complete the restoration and education center.
$600,000 in EPA
Site Assessment Grant Funds
The EPA awarded the county three site assessment grants to assess, plan, and prepare abandoned properties for re-use. The funds enabled the Land Bank to complete more than 30 environmental site assessments for properties including the historic Berridge and Durant Hotels, inventory more than 2,000 tax foreclosed properties, clear title on approximately 45 properties, remove under ground storage tanks on two former gas station sites, and host public meetings and forums. In addition, The Land Bank completed redevelopment plans and alternative cleanup strategies for the former “Chevy in the Hole” industrial site in downtown Flint. Additional activities will be completed under the grant in 2007.
$2 Million EPA
Revolving Loan Fund Grant
The county formed a joint management team with the City of Flint to implement the loan program. The team organized 3 forums on brownfield financing attended by more than 200 local officials and staff, realtors, bankers, and others involved in redevelopment. In addition, the team developed marketing materials to get the word out about the benefits of the loan program. The team is currently accepting applications to use the loan funds to cleanup qualified sites in Genesee County.
| Getting State of Michigan Dollars to Genesee County: ||Top
of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Grant/Loan Funds enable the Land Bank to cleanup the following six properties in Genesee County.
Former Berridge Hotel, Flint
The former hotel, built in 1928, will be converted into 16 loft condominiums on the upper floors and two commercial retail spaces on the first floor. Tanks were removed from the former tire and auto center across the street from the hotel and the site will be re-used for commercial storage.
Former Classic Painting Systems , Flint
The current building was constructed on this site in 1967 and used by a flooring company, an appliance store, a construction company, and an auto repair shop. After the site is cleaned, the building will be converted into a warehouse for the GCLBA to store equipment used for the property management and maintenance programs.
Former Citgo Gas Station, Corner of Fenton and Hill, Grand Blanc Township
A gas station was located on this northeast corner of Fenton and Hill Roads in Grand Blanc Township since 1959. The Land Bank acquired the property through tax foreclosure shortly after the Citgo Station went out of business in 2003. The building was demolished, the tanks were removed, and site is cleaned and ready for commercial re-use.
Former Industrial Cleaner, Flint
This site was used as a restaurant, a filling station, and a dry cleaner before it was abandoned and acquired by the Land Bank through tax foreclosure. Cleanup activities will likely include soil removal, indoor air monitoring and additional remediation. The existing building on this site will be converted into an auto repair and body shop. This will require re-configuring the interior space and renovating the building into three separate shop rooms.
Former Frenchy Tire, Burton
Frenchy Tire and Auto Repair occupied the site from 1972 until it closed in 2000. The GCLBA acquired the property through tax reversion, removed the tanks and cleaned the site. This property is being redeveloped as an auto repair shop.
| Creative use of Brownfield Tax Increment Revenue: ||Top
Genesee County uses a unique and nationally recognized approach to eliminate blight using public and private sector investment. The GCBRA and the GCLBA use brownfield bond proceeds reimbursed with brownfield tax increment revenues to support aggressive demolition and neighborhood revitalization. In addition to eliminating blight, the GCLBA is working to stabilize and improve neighborhoods. Through partnerships with public and private sector entities, the GCLBA is helping to stimulate housing and commercial redevelopment in priority areas throughout the city. The new investments in Land Bank properties will generate tax revenues to reimburse the bond proceeds.
Through the Brownfield Program, the Land Bank has demolished 700 blighted structures, cleared more than 100 property titles, and removed over 600 tons of debris dumped on vacant lots.
In addition, the funds were used to complete lead abatement and replacement of windows and doors in two renovated homes in 2006.
The GCBRA and the GCLBA are in the process of amending the Brownfield Plan to include an additional 700 properties. The GCBRA will issue an additional $7.5 million in brownfield bonds to front the costs of demolition and other eligible activities. As in the current Brownfield Plan, the bond funds will be reimbursed with tax increment revenues collected from Land Bank properties returned to the tax rolls.