Tampa metals recycler hopes for grant to help fund site cleanup

Tampa metals recycler hopes for grant to help fund site cleanup

Source: Tampa Tribune, March 17, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

An East Tampa scrap yard is in line to become the city’s latest industrial site targeted for environmental cleanup.

Trademark Metals Recycling LLC has asked the city and state to designate property it owns in an industrial zone east of Ybor City as a brownfield. The designation opens up federal and state coffers for cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated land.

Trademark attorney Michael R. Goldstein said his clients plan to clean up the former Gulf Coast Metals site using the help of state brownfield tax credits. The property will continue to operate as an aluminum furnace, melting cast-off cans and other materials for resale.

The brownfield program will help clean up the property and expand operations, adding both jobs and taxes to the local economy, Goldstein said.

“We’re going to spend not an insignificant amount of money improving the site,” Goldstein said.

The Tampa City Council has set two public hearings on the brownfield request, at 6 p.m. April 11 and 10:30 a.m. May 2. Both hearings will be in Old City Hall’s council chambers downtown.

Tampa has 25 brownfield sites already. The list includes many, such as the Ikea site off State Road 60, that have been redeveloped. Outside the city, Hillsborough County has 14 more brownfields, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

During the past decade, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $7.5 million in brownfield grants to Tampa-area governments. More than $29 million has been spent statewide in that same time.

Last year, the EPA awarded $1.4 million in such grants to Florida cities, including Orlando, Brooksville and Tampa. EPA spokesman Phil Vorsatz said federal budget cuts known as sequestration could derail brownfield grants this year.

Trademark is based in Tampa and has operations throughout the state. It bought the Gulf Coast Metals property at 6912 E. Ninth Ave. in January 2012. Gulf Coast owned the property for 30 years.

“To date, Trademark Metals Recycling LLC has invested more than $1 million on site improvements and intends to continue rehabilitation and redevelopment,” the company told the city in a written report last month.

A review of the 3.24-acre property found higher-than-safe levels of lead in some areas. The groundwater just beneath the site is polluted with aluminum, sodium and chloride, the report said.

State tax credits will cover the cost of cleaning up the pollution.

“But for the tax credits, it’s likely the company wouldn’t have invested in the property,” Goldstein said.

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