MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- The City of Mobile -- awarded $300,000 in federal funding to hopefully help revitalize and put unused historical sites in Africatown back into action.
The City of Mobile formally launched the federally-funded program with a virtual kickoff to determine what level of pollution might be in the soil and water in Africatown, with the goal of moving forward with future revitalization of the historic community.
Using a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the city contracted CERM (Corporate Environmental Risk Management) to begin assessing parts of Africatown. The areas currently identified for evaluation include the Clotilda Landing under the Africatown Bridge, the Josephine Allen Housing Complex in the Happy Hills neighborhood, and Lewis Landing on Conception Street, one of 14 points of interest along the Africatown Connections Blueway.
The money is earmarked specifically to conduct enviromental site assessments and develop cleanup plans. They're now calling on the community to help identify up to four more sites.
"The efforts completed by the grant are expected to encourage cleanup and redevelopment opportunities that reduce blight, expand the tax base, and ultimately create new employment opportunities," said Ray Richardson, City of Mobile Brownfields Project Manager.
"This is an awesome opportunity to work on this project -- given it's historical background and its historical features," said Olga Perry, EPA.
"I think it's very important that we thank EPA for recognizing the worthiness of this grant application and giving us this $300,000 grant. But ultimately what it does is -- it allows us to assess spaces that can be revitalized and positioned for community and economic development," said Mayor Sandy Stimpson.
"In addition to the three priority sites as I mentioned -- there will be up to 7 sites -- assessed under this grant. So the community will be in charge or a big part of prioritizing and identifying the additional four sites for assessment," explained Sharon Douglas.
1. Hog Bayou's old International Paper Company's Site. This is also one of our proposed Blueway Sites.
2. The vacant lots in the Tin Top Road area. South of Shelby Street and across from Hopewell Church. This is one of Africatown's main entrances that we have plans to spruce up.
3. Lewis Landing 2. This is another one of our proposed Blueway sites.
4. Africatown's Community Gardens area.
5. The 3 story "Brown's House" on Front Street. Possible Bed & Breakfast Site.
This is the third Brownfield grant the City of Mobile has received. One in 2009 for Downtown Mobile, and the other for Brookley Aeroplex. The project has a timeline of three years.