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Local News

Grant request for Royal Coach environmental study approved

A request for a DEQ brownfield redevelopment site assessment grant of $62,650 for the former Royal Coach building on Mill Street property will go ahead after Hastings City Council approval Monday.

Community Development Director Dan King said the city is looking for a developer who will revitalize the site with plans for a mixed-use riverfront property with residential housing, retail and commercial uses.

 

The building was a manufacturing site of Hastings Manufacturing Company (HMC) before being used just for storage. The city is working with HMC, a local philanthropist and the Barry County Economic Development Alliance on the project, King said.

 

The anonymous benefactor’s funding of a phase one Environmental Site Assessment for $2,900 and a Hazardous Materials Assessment for $7,500 makes up the match for the grant.

Information on any environmental issues at the site encourages developers, giving them “a better handle on costs,” King said

 

SME, an engineering consulting firm, will do the environmental assessment of the site. In the grant application, the property is described as some 8.2 acres with two warehouse buildings and three sheds that were used for fire suppression equipment, a paint shop and fuel dispensing.

 

Known or potential contaminants include VOCs (volatile organic compounds), SVOCs (semi-volatile organic compounds, metals, PFAs (polyfluoralkyl substances) and methane. King said he expects a quick turnaround on the grant request from the DEQ.

 

The council also approved the City of Hastings/Barry County Airport 2019 budget that City Manager Jeff Mansfield said generally reflects standard operations over the course of the year. Revenues are expected to exceed expenditures by $20,000, he said, with most of the airport’s income coming from hanger fees and gas sales.

Barry County Commissioners must also approve the budget as part of a Joint Operating Agreement of the airport with the city.

 

Mansfield updated the council, reporting that the state granted an extension for the city to submit a Corrective Action Plan related to retirees health care benefits and the final plan has been sent to the state.

 

The city was not in compliance with the state’s recently established limits on the amount of unfunded liability and payments that municipalities are allowed to make for health care benefits for retirees. The city’s conversion to Blue Care Network and Blue Care Network Advantage Plans for eligible retirees brings the city into compliance with the state’s standards, he said. Now, they wait to see if the state approves the plan, which Mansfield thinks will be the case.

 

 

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