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EGLE grant helps revitalize blighted, former fueling facility in Bad Axe

Redeveloped building on former contaminated site in Bad Axe.

A Brownfield Redevelopment Grant from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will help the Huron County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the Huron County Community Foundation (HCCF) redevelop a contaminated site at 101 West Huron Avenue in Bad Axe, Michigan. This 0.28-acre site is contaminated with petroleum compounds from its former use as a gasoline filling station.

The property began operation as a gasoline filling station in 1928, with one underground fuel tank. By 1939, the business had expanded to include four storage tanks and continued to operate as a filling station until the early 1970s. The site was then utilized as retail and office space until 2014. Since that time, the property has remained vacant.

As a result of the former gas station operations on the property, soil and groundwater became contaminated with petroleum compounds and other solvents. A $600,000 brownfield redevelopment grant from EGLE will be used to evaluate and address this contamination. The grant will pay for environmental site assessment, building demolition activities, removal and disposal of contaminated soil, removal of suspected underground storage tanks, and the design and installation of a system to prevent subsurface vapors from migrating into the remaining structure.

Overall, this summer EGLE will provide $15.6 million in brownfield funding to 21 projects statewide.

HCCF started in the mid-1990s with an initial gift of $1,000, a part-time director, and no permanent home, often sharing office space with other community organizations. Over time, the organization established an identity and reputation within the community, growing the initial $1,000 gift into endowed assets of over $6 million.

Expected Outcomes
• $1.2 million in capital investment
• Removal and disposal of contaminated soil
• Design and installation of a system beneath the building to prevent vapors from entering the structure
• Community hub workspace and residential units
• Reuse of vacant, blighted building in downtown Bad Axe

In 2018, the HCCF conducted a Strategic Priorities process to determine the needs of the community and their future role in addressing those needs. In doing so, HCCF outlined a strategic vision and priorities that will provide dynamic support for the region by:

  • Retaining and attracting a talented, trained workforce
  • Creating vibrant communities with a focus on downtown revitalization, support for public recreation initiatives, and the activation of public spaces
  • Cultivating an environment for business development, including support and resources for local entrepreneurs

With the strategic vision and priorities in mind, the HCCF began looking for a space that would serve as an office and community hub to support and catalyze their priorities. The vacant blighted buildings located on the heavily trafficked corner of 101 West Huron Avenue were quickly identified as the ideal location for HCCF's first permanent home. The site will be redeveloped into a community hub that includes coworking and office space on the first floor. Residential units will be located on the second floor. One part time job will be created with the investment of $1.2 million.

The project is a true community initiative that includes multiple partners. In addition to support from EGLE, the HCCF is also partnering with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Huron County Economic Development Corporation, the Bad Axe Downtown Development Authority, and Private Sponsors and Donors to make this project a reality.

Photo caption: Redeveloped building on former contaminated site in Bad Axe.

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