Based on good record, KC gets EPA loan money


Margaret May, director of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, at the site of the new $100 million Ivanhoe Gateway housing project.

By Joe Lambe

Abandoned and polluted sites mark lost hope like gravestones.

When the Horace Mann elementary school burned four years ago, it left charred debris, asbestos and lead paint in the Ivanhoe neighborhood.

About $672,000 in EPA brownfield money cleaned up the mess at Euclid and 39th streets. Now the $100 million Ivanhoe Gateway housing project is underway.

On Wednesday, a top EPA official went there to announce that Kansas City – because of such successes – will get $475,000 for revolving brownfield loans.

It is part of a $13.2 million supplemental revolving loan fund that will go to places nationwide with proven track records.

Missouri will get about $1.4 million in all from the fund, which will continue as repaid loans become  new loans.

The loan can provide “that critical jab that enables all that additional money to come to the table,” said Mathy Stanislaus, national assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

As it is, he said, every $1 in EPA grants leverages $18 in state and private funding, but the loan money could be a key to getting more.

Stanislaus, who has degrees in chemical engineering and environmental law, said polluted sites mark lost hope.

Fix them, he said, and you eliminate toxins, lure development, create jobs and rebuild inner cities.

Margaret May, director of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, stood in front of the construction site, thanked people and said, “If the site hadn’t been cleaned up and the school deconstructed, none of this would have happened.”

And much is happening on 2.6 acres from Euclid Avenue to Garfield Ave, 38th to 39th streets.

Backhoes and cranes work on what will soon be seven two-story duplex units, to be followed by 12 one-story senior cottages.

Officials then took a bus ride to some other projects in the city made possible by brownfield grants.

Among them: The Aldi grocery store on 39th Street, Faxon School apartments on the Paseo, the DeLaSalle Education Center on Troost, and ongoing construction for a food hub and more at the long abandoned Hardesty federal complex on Hardesty Avenue.

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