By Morgan MacFarlane
The old Churchill’s filling station vacant lot at 306 N. Grand Street will be cleaned up according to a presentation at the Schoolcraft Village Council meeting in August by Lee Adams. The Kalamazoo County Land Bank took possession of the property through tax foreclosure action in 2012. The property has received Brownfield redevelopment monies from the state, according to Adams, Kalamazoo County planning and development resource coordinator.
Brownfields are unused or abandoned land that may contain contamination. The first stage of the Brownfield plan was recently completed, and found that there was little contamination, Adams told the Council. This consisted of having an environmental assessment done which looks at the different things that can contaminate a Brownfield site. The environmental assessment was completed by Envirologic Technologies, a Kalamazoo based company that handles many different brownfields each year, said Adams. Phase two could possibly be conducted in the spring. It would consist of doing soil samples, and it can easily be done when the ground is torn up during the clean up, said Adams.
Schoolcraft Village Manager Cheri Lutz said, “The downtown will be enhanced in one of two ways, either by redevelopment of the property, or simply as green space in a highly visible area. So in the long run, at some point, we will see either a new building there or a nicely landscaped green space.”
Once the brownfield property is cleaned up and sold the money from the sale will be divided between the Kalamazoo Land Bank and the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority according to how much was spent by each, said Adams and Lutz.
Lutz said, “The sale and subsequent development of the parcel would benefit the Village in a number of ways. First, there would be an opportunity for some type of business to come to the Village. It could be an office development or some kind of retail development either of which could provide goods and services to our community.
In addition, new development increases the Village’s tax base which allows us to continue to provide or even improve the services that are now offered to our business and residential community.” Village Council members were concerned that the Brownfield Plan would interfere with the Christmas Walk. Adams assured members that this would not be the case.
The Village also received a clean audit performed by Doug Wohlberg CPA who has been doing the Village of Schoolcraft’s auditing for over 25 years.
Volunteers from the Eagles Nest requested funds to pay for utilities at the Eagles Nest building on Clay Street. The Eagles Nest is a collection of non-profit social service organizations that help families in Schoolcraft when in need.
Susan Kuiper spokesperson for the Eagles Nest thanked the Council for its decision saying, “It’s just another indication of the support and generosity of the people of this village.”