Tulsa Hoping To Transform Contaminated Building With Grant From EPA

Thursday, November 21st 2019, 9:38 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

A contaminated old building near downtown Tulsa could get a second life helping new businesses get off the ground.

The City of Tulsa is applying for an Environmental Protection Agency grant to clean out its surplus auction building.

The city wants to turn the building near Admiral and Utica into a business incubator. The abandoned building is called a Brownfield. That means it could pose environmental hazards if someone tries to redevelop it.

The City of Tulsa gets to choose one property a year to apply for EPA grants and hopefully get it cleaned up and transformed.

"There was a hazardous materials response to this in 2018 and at that time there was radiation detected," said Michelle Barnett, Brownfields Program Manager and Deputy Chief of Economic Development.

Brownfields Program Manager Michelle Barnett said they also found lead based paint and asbestos.

She said it used to be a headquarters for an oil company in the early 1900s.

"We would like it to be offices or a business incubator. It helps for economic innovation," Barnett said.

Barnett asked for people in the community to share their thoughts on the cleanup and asked for opinions.

Attendee Nancy Moran said she's excited to see the Brownfield transformation bring economic development.

"Helping to improve public health, cleaning up the air, and creating jobs in communities that have been left out," said Moran.

Barnett said the BOK Center, Evans-Fintube site which will be the headquarters of USA BMX, and Air Force plant 3 at the Tulsa International Airport are current and past Brownfields.

"I'm waiting to see what happens," said Moran. "The concept of nothing about us without us is important."

The city is applying for a $350,000 grant for the EPA for the building next month.

They'll know by next October if they get the money awarded.

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