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EGLE grant helping to transform contaminated property in Pontiac into community center

Removal of the underground storage tank where the Webster Community Center will be in Pontiac.(Today’s MI Environment story is based on a news release issued by Oakland County.)

A small crowd gathered at the site of a former elementary school in Pontiac last month to witness the removal of a contaminated 20,000-gallon underground tank. The event heralded the start of the cleanup of the site – including the removal of asbestos and lead-based paint. It was made possible in part with a $425,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes (EGLE).

The cleanup will result in the transformation of the site into the Webster Community Center, which will provide social and recreational services.

“EGLE is happy to able to play a part in bringing a contaminated and blighted property back into safe and productive reuse,” said Carrie Geyer, Brownfield Assessment & Redevelopment Section manager at EGLE.

“Without these grants, many of these sites would continue to be an eyesore in our communities,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said at the event. “So, we’re really looking forward to future collaborations and partnerships with cities throughout Oakland County and the Webster Community Center to help ensure the success of our towns and neighborhoods.”

Micah 6 Community, a Pontiac-based non-profit, is investing $21 million to transform the former elementary school located on West Huron Street into the Webster Community Center which will provide social and recreational services including six Head Start classrooms, a food co-op, art classes and therapy, performing arts programs, a WIC (Women, Infants, Children) office, a walk-in clinic, a small business incubator, and community event rooms.

“We are excited to kick off the environmental remediation piece of this project because this represents another step closer to a completed community center offering services, activities, and opportunities for people of all ages in our community,” Micah 6 Community Executive Director Coleman Yoakum said.

Micah 6 Community expects to complete the renovations of the building and property by December of 2023. Tenants will include Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, Honor Community Health, SMART, Rochester University, Art Experience, Pontiac Community Foundation, Oakland County Sheriff PAL, Sprout Fresh Food Store, Kaleo Kids, Accent Pontiac, and Pontiac Theatre IV.