HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is has awarded Hartsville a Brownfields Grant to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites.
The $400,000 grant will help city leaders conduct site assessment and planning for clean-up of Brownfields.
City Manager LaVerne Myers said he and other city leaders are now working to figure out what areas of the city they would like to evaluate. On Friday, he is meeting with the firm that helped the city apply for the grant.
"I want to understand what information we have, they have, and then how they suggest we move forward – tell us what our options are," Myers said.
City leaders have two areas already in mind. One is the Vista area off Fourth Street in downtown Hartsville. Part of the old railroad area has redeveloped by the city, but there are other areas that could still be cleaned up.
"For instance, by the old train station there is the old train station and a caboose that's on a track, so that would be one place we'd like to look at," Myers said.
The other area is Sixth Street. Myers described the street as "distressed" and said the city is just beginning efforts to revitalize the area. The grant may help identify several spots along the street that need to be cleaned up.
"There were a number of gas stations that are closed," Myers explained. "There are clothing stores, dry cleaners that have closed. So those are sort of red-flag type places that we could look at."
Myers said the cleanup efforts are part of the city's ongoing work to keep the local economy strong.
"It's a constant battle to keep improving," Myers said. "If you don't move forward you'll start to fall backwards, and you need to have a plan. In the Vista we had a plan, and the plan is just about finalized now. Sixth Street corridor, we have the plan, we're just starting on it."
Including Hartsville, the EPA recently awarded $1.4 million in Brownfields Grants to South Carolina communities. Williamsburg County also received a community wide assessment grant. Anderson County received a cleanup grant for Riverside Mill and Toxaway Mill Sites. The Town of Pelzer received a community-wide hazardous substances assessment grant.