EPA grant frees up more money for MAPS 3 park in Oklahoma City

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Oklahoma City a $350,000 grant to perform environmental assessments on the site of the MAPS 3 Core to Shore park. The grant will free up more money to be used elsewhere on the park project.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: May 26, 2012
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The federal Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Oklahoma City a grant that will free up more money for the city to spend on the MAPS 3 Core to Shore park.

The EPA grant of $350,000 is for environmental assessment work the city has to conduct on the site of the 70-acre park, which will extend from the south end of downtown Oklahoma City to the north shore of the Oklahoma River.

Without the grant, the city would have had to pay for the assessments with MAPS money. City officials now can save that $350,000 for another use on the parks project.

Brownfields assessment

The grant is for cities that are developing so-called brownfields sites. Brownfields are plots of land that could be contaminated because of previous activities.

Many of the parcels the city has bought and will buy before work begins on the downtown park were used by industrial businesses since before World War II, and many hazardous substances could be left behind.

“That was before environmental regulations existed and before we cared about what we threw on the ground and knew enough to have those concerns,” said Chris Varga, brownfields coordinator for the city Planning Department. “Whenever you get into older areas like that, you would expect to find some things.”

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