Source: http://www.mlive.com, September 5, 2012
By: Shaun Byron
A large portion of the former Chevy in the Hole manufacturing site may soon be transferred to city ownership now that long-term liability for pollution at the site is settled.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with the city of Flint eliminating city liability for pollution from the past if certain requirements are met.
The public has an opportunity to submit comments on the deal to the EPA for 30 days, which may result in the terms of the settlement being changed or withdrawn.
The agreement states that the city must cap and repair covers for contaminated soils, plant trees, as well as install sidewalks and new groundwater monitoring wells.
The city can’t be held legally responsible for any pre-existing contamination as long as the requirements are met, EPA officials said.
A land transfer deal has been in limbo for several years regarding the estimated 70 acres on the south side of the Flint River.
The entire Chevy in the Hole site was about 130 acres when it was used for manufacturing.
It was the heart of manufacturing for Chevrolet in the early 1900s.
Chevy in the Hole was the site of the famous Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37 and, during the 1950s, General Motors Co. employed about 8,000 people at the site.
The Flint Economic Development Corp. bought the property for $1 with a quit claim deed from Delphi Corp. in 2008.
City officials plan to turn the property into green space once a transfer deal is made.
The public is being given 30-days to comment on the settlement, which Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said gives the EPA a chance to learn about any previously unknown information about the site.
Walling said he has no reason to believe the settlement won’t be finalized at the end of the 30 days. He said federal support was needed for the city to take ownership of the property and to obtain about $1.5 million to help clean the site.
The funds are available through the EPA as a grant and are intended to assist in the remediation of the site, he said.
Additional grant dollars are being sought by the city through the state and federal agencies to help the project, Walling said.
“It’s going to be primarily green space, but with a number of innovative features,” he said. “With the right funding, there will be a small greenhouse facility that would incubate the trees and plants that are to be used on the site … the green space will be more ecologically rich than a traditional park with just grass and trees.
“A part of the site will be rehabilitated as a natural wetland where groundwater comes out on the site.”