The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced more than $54 million in grant funds to clean up contaminated brownfields sites around the country, and one of the projects getting funding is in Louisville.
The EPA will give the YMCA of Greater Louisville $200,000 to clean up the site of the future West Louisville YMCA. The building at 1700 W. Broadway was formerly a cigarette manufacturing facility that was donated to the Y in 2011. Decades ago, sand that was brought in to raise the shipping area was contaminated with heavy metals.
YMCA of Greater Louisville President Steve Tarver said the metals aren’t considered a high health risk, and could have been encapsulated on site.
“Our board of directors felt very strongly that we wanted to fully mitigate this, even though it was not considered a high health risk for anybody and could have been encapsulated on the property,” he said.
“But our board felt that the nature of our work with family and children and potentially clinical services, it was so important that we have a totally clean site and we’re going to go ahead and proceed with this cleanup.”
Tarver estimated the full cost of remediating the site will be about $600,000, and the EPA grant will pay for a third of that. The YMCA expects to break ground on the $26-million project later this year.
Other Kentucky entities getting funded in this grant cycle include the City of Vanceburg, the Cumberland Valley Area Development District and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.