Here's the dirt: The City of North Charleston has a new pot of money to test the dirt.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $400,000 grant to the city to provide soil tests for former chemical sites around town. It's part of $2 million in competitive grants the agency distributed this week to South Carolina communities for similar work.
The money will be used to analyze soil at former industrial sites or locations where chemicals have been used in the past. The work will determine if there's been any contamination that would have to be cleaned up before the site is redeveloped, says Shannon Praete, the city's grant administrator. Half of the grant money can be used for any site in the city and the other half is set aside specifically for former petroleum sites, including abandoned gas stations.
Particular sites that will be tested will be identified after the city gets community input and determines properties that have the most potential for development. If a site is studied and found to require clean-up, the city can make another request for further EPA aid, Praete says.
Charleston and South Carolina From Off:
• Local secular humanists (whom had a high profile billboard on I-26 a few months ago, lead off a New York Times piece on the movement.
• Gubernatorial candidate Gresham Barrett, regardless of the ribbing he took on Tax Day, won the support of a collection of Greenville Republicans in a recent GOP straw poll.
• Gov. Mark Sanford gets a spotlight in Newsweek over his stimulus stalling. Like the rest of us, they see 2012 aspirations.
• State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis is one of the legislators called out from the state Senate floor last week for errors in his tax returns. He says it wasn't his fault and he's not a tax cheat.
The Charleston Regional Business Journal is reporting that the developers of the Promenade project in the neck area of the peninsula are considering shifting the residential plans for the site to provide a rail site as one possible solution to the debate over improved rail access to the new Charleston port site.
Last year, the developers made a pitch during community input meetings for a mixed development of residential and commercial uses. Development of the site is complicated by the fact that it is on top of two former landfills. Oh, and the housing market has tanked.
The rail proposal doesn't sound doable, but it may signal a hint of desperation from the developer.