City could receive funds to clean up brownfields

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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City Council unanimously decided to adopt a resolution for a Brownfields Assessment at their meeting on Tuesday night.

City Manager Chris Hobby explained that the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission is forming a Brownfields Assessment Coalition. Brownfields are former industrial commercial sights that have a real or perceived environmental issue, and the first step in mitigating the issue is to identify the brownfields in the area.

The coalition will be identifying these properties within the city and county, along with other cities and counties in the region, if agreed upon. Once identified, the coalition will then receive funding opportunities to mitigate the environmental hazard.

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The coalition sends in an outside assessor to locate these properties. Councilwoman Glennie Bench questioned if the City Council would have any input as to what sights the assessor should evaluate and then could later decide if the City wants to declare that property a brownfield.

Hobby assured Bench the Council would have input and further explained that the coalition will be soliciting information from the public on what properties are perceived as having environmental issues.

They then will provide City Council a report, where it can be reviewed and questions can be asked.

“At any time in the process, you can recommend properties to be included in this,” Hobby told City Council.

Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer told Hobby she did not believe the City owned any brownfields, as she had taken a course where they were recently mentioned.

Hobby explained the city does not have any, but these brownfields would be privately owned properties.

“There may not be any properties in the whole City of Bainbridge that qualify, but there may and part of that is perception,” Hobby said. “A lot of people believe that properties aren’t being developed because there is a perceived issue and if you can clear that up, you also accomplish something.”

Bench moved to adopt the resolution, following Hobby’s statement and was seconded by Councilman Phil Long.

The county is expected to follow shortly behind and join the coalition, completing their own Brownfields Assessment.