Montevallo pursuing EPA grant to spur growth

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

The City of Montevallo is pursuing a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency that could help prepare the city for more economic development.

The sought-after grant is the EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant. It is intended to empower communities to reuse brownfields, which are defined as properties made difficult to reuse or redevelop due to the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.

“We have some properties where there may be some contamination,” said Steve Gilbert, executive director of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce. “We want to see these properties revitalized and brought back online.”

Funds from the grant would be used to assess sites, conduct planning for cleanup and inform the community.

According to Gilbert, the Brownfields grant could bring as much as $300,000 of federal funds to Montevallo for developing a plan to revitalize some of its properties.

Gilbert believes the restructuring could be attractive to potential property owners. He hopes to develop some properties that have not been in use for years and bring more businesses to Montevallo to fully utilize the space the town has.

At a Nov. 14 City Council meeting, Gilbert asked the council for approval to pursue the grant. Funds from the grant must go to a municipality, so the city’s approval was necessary. Mayor Hollie Cost and the council were on board with Gilbert and approved moving forward with the application for the grant.

Gilbert has since continued working with his department and the Montevallo Cooperative District to get the paperwork in order. Gilbert said he spoke with Ayers and Associates about writing up a proposal for the grant.

According to Gilbert, the grant must be submitted by Dec. 20 and the city will be notified in May 2017 as to whether it has received the grant.