Nine properties in Detroit's historic Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood are being prepared for redevelopment with help from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The Wayne County Economic Development Corporation was awarded a $250,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Grant to determine whether the sites are contaminated so they can be revitalized and safely reused. The last grant received by Wayne County from what was then known as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was a $2.5 million grant for the Cardinal Health Medical Supply Warehouse in 2012.
The grant will help the Economic Development Corporation determine whether past uses contaminated the soil or groundwater. Old gas stations, car repair businesses, and dry cleaners on the nine properties may have left contaminants behind. Once the environmental condition is known, contamination that impedes redevelopment can be addressed. Then the developer, EJDevCo, will construct commercial and residential buildings on the nine parcels along with about 200 others in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.
Redevelopment plans are in the works for seven of the nine parcels. The current infrastructure is sufficient to support these redevelopments with the exception of stormwater. The development on two of the nine parcels will be green stormwater infrastructure including bio-retention plantings, permeable pavement and aggregate retention infrastructure following the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department's (DWSD) green infrastructure guidelines. Once the green stormwater infrastructure is installed, the parcels will be used as green surface parking. These two sites are a part of a larger green stormwater infrastructure installation plan within the Jefferson-Chalmers Targeted Redevelopment Area (TRA) which aims to remove more than 850,000 gallons of storm water runoff each year.
EGLE partners with communities to protect public health and the environment and revitalize contaminated property. EGLE grants and loans pay for environmental investigation and cleanup on brownfields. Brownfields are vacant or abandoned properties with known or suspected environmental contamination.
Each grant and loan dollar invested by EGLE in 2018 top protect residents and the environment is expected to return an average of $42 to the state's economy. When brownfields are redeveloped, property values increase both on the revitalized site and on other nearby properties.