Chattanooga's Enterprise Center lands $200,000 EPA grant

Chattanooga's Enterprise Center lands $200,000 EPA grant

April 26th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Joe Ferguson, left, and Wayne Cropp are interviewed at the Enterprise Center.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga's Enterprise Center will use a $200,000 federal brownfield grant to plan for cleaning up an area that includes a 17-acre industrial site near downtown.

Wayne Cropp, the center's chief executive, also said the EPA grant will help city officials plan development along the proposed Central Avenue extension that would run from near Erlanger to Riverside Drive.

"This very much includes community involvement to the planning process," Cropp said. "We need to be sensitive to the populations that live there."

The grant will study remediating the former Cannon/Cumberland industrial brownfield site between Third Avenue and Riverside Drive.

The Cannon Equipment factory, which for many years was known as Cumberland Corp. and was a maker of material handling equipment, closed last year with 71 people losing their jobs.

The Enterprise Center, working with the city and others, will develop a brownfields areawide plan and implementation strategy for the so-called Third Street corridor that will include the former plant and the area around Erlanger, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Engel Stadium.

"Through EPA's Brownfields Program we support not just environmental revitalization but economic revitalization," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming in a statement.

Cropp said the study potentially could take two years and likely won't start for 90 to 120 days as the center finalizes its contract with EPA.

Cropp said the center has won more than $3.5 million in brownfield grants since 2006.

"Its good for the environment, good for public health, and good for development," he said.

Plans for the Central Avenue extension are included in the city's current long-range transportation plan and in the three-year transportation improvement program

A design meeting is slated for early 2014, and it's estimated that it will be late 2015 before any construction begins.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.