City of Washington works to assess vacant buildings with federal grant money

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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) Re-purposing old and empty buildings can be a difficult task for property owners, and the city of Washington in Beaufort County is getting funding to help resolve the issue.

The city is now able to tackle its vacant building issue thanks to new federal funding from the environmental protection agency’s brownfield grant program.

“Most of these buildings sat here and sat here and sat here because they have environmental issues with them and until we get a plan and get an exact cost on what it takes to renovate them, those buyers don’t have much interest,” says Mayor Mac Hodges.

The goal is to improve economic development by bringing unused buildings back into circulation. 

Jonathan Russell, the city manager in Washington explains the funding works in two phases.

“Phase one is kind of a superficial overview it looks at some historical data what the property was used for what type of commercial activity may have taken place there uh phase two just goes a little more in-depth with some soil samplings about the higher level of information being provided,” he says.

These studies allow property owners and city officials to develop a plan to clean up the property and make it available to sell or use.

The city is reaching out to landowners to help them assess their properties. 

“We’re just making an effort to reach out to these property owners, let them know there’s grant funding available to look into it with no strings attached, there are no requirements other than getting the study and providing that information,” says Russell.

So far the city has been able to assess the future site of the new police station among other buildings.

If you are a property owner in the area and would like to get involved with this grant funding you can contact the city hall planning department here.

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