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PM Environmental Clients Awarded Two Historic Grants in Mississippi

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Brownfield money will be used by the Community Counseling Services (CCS) for the former administration building at Mary Holmes College.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winners of the competitive grant-funded brownfield assessment and cleanup program. PM prepared the successful applications for two clients who were awarded $200,000 each in cleanup grants in the City of West Point, Mississippi.

Brownfield money will be used by the Community Counseling Services (CCS) for the former administration building at Mary Holmes College.

“These grants are historic because they are the first cleanup grants to be awarded in Mississippi since the inception of the EPA Brownfield Grant Program in 1995,” said John Hargraves, P.G., brownfield group regional manager at PM Environmental. “They were also the only grants awarded in Mississippi this year.”

The first grant will be used be used by the City of West Point for the Westside School, and the other by Community Counseling Services (CCS) for the former administration building at Mary Holmes College. Both of the grants are vital to the City of West Point because they will be used to remove two blighted buildings and free up quality properties to support other activities within the city.

“The funding will be utilized to assist in the demolition and asbestos abatement for two dilapidated and functionally obsolete buildings in the City of West Point,” said Jessica DeBone, brownfields consultant at PM Environmental.

Westside School is currently a closed elementary school with significant structural damage that requires demolition of the building. Asbestos-containing materials will need to be removed prior to the demolition, which the cleanup grant will help fund. The site is in a residential area, and it will either be developed into a tennis complex or a green space/park area.

Mary Holmes College closed around 2004, and CCS purchased the 200-acre campus around 2008. The administration building is in a state of disrepair. It is unsalvageable, and is currently viewed as a safety hazard. The building has asbestos-containing materials and chemicals from science laboratories that will need to be removed prior to building demolition. The grant will assist in funding the removal of the materials and building demolition.

The public uses the campus for events such as weddings, reunions, and workshops. The cleared area from the administration building will be designed as green parking areas and other greenspace.

The assessment phases conducted in preparation for these applications was funded through The City of West Point’s EPA Assessment Grant. PM prepared the applications for the City of West Point and CCS, which were submitted later to the EPA. Application activities were conducted by Jessica DeBone and John Hargraves, which included application preparation, costing for the cleanup, conducting public meetings, demographic research and application preparation.

“The application was a collaborative effort between PM and the grant recipients,” said DeBone. “The grant recipients’ involvement in the process is what can set their applications apart.”