Brownfields are abandoned, idle, or underutilized industrial and commercial properties where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Brownfields can be as small as an old corner gas station or as large as a manufacturing facility.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Program helps communities address potential health risks and restore the economic viability of brownfield properties.
In late May 2015, the EPA awarded the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government a $200,000 brownfields cleanup grant. These hazardous substances grant funds will be used to help clean up the former Fayette County Courthouse at 215 West Main Street. The building was constructed in 1898 and operated as the community's judicial center until 2002. From 2002 until 2012, the building was used to provide museum space and to assist with Lexington Farmers' Market operations. Contaminants at the site include asbestos, lead-based paint, mold, and guano.
Earlier, Lexington received $400,000 in EPA Brownfield Program Assessment Grant funds to assess Fayette County brownfield sites. The funds were used to perform environmental site assessments and to develop cleanup plans. A total of 13 properties voluntarily participated in the assessment grant program. Phase I environmental site assessments were completed at all 13 sites. The Phase I assessments identified recognized environmental conditions at 9 of these 13 sites and Phase II environmental assessments were preformed at these 9 sites to determine whether contamination was present. Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (cleanup plans) were then completed for the six properties where contamination was found. (Click on the map to view the participating properties.)
The assessment grant helped facilitate redevelopment, as several of the properties assessed through this grant are in the process of being redeveloped now to include The Old Pepper Distillery on Manchester Street and Thistle Station on Newtown Pike.