EPA to help plan redevelopment of Navassa site in North Carolina.
Navassa is on the brink of reinventing itself as a town that is economically sustainable and offers amenities such as a library, transportation and recreation to its residents through the cleanup and redevelopment of its Superfund cleanup sites.
That goal can be achieved only through sustained effort and meticulous planning, representatives from the EPA told town officials at the recent Kerr-McGee Superfund Cleanup meeting.
The cleanup consists of making the site safe, restoring its natural resources and redeveloping the land. While the EPA's official responsibilities end with the site's cleanup and restoration, it also is assisting Navassa with its plans for the land's reuse.
The EPA will help Navassa create a comprehensive plan for the community's development as well as work with town officials to gain support from county, municipal and state governments, and others. It also will assist with grants to fund the redevelopment.
"The EPA has policies to encourage redevelopment," said Erik Spalvins, remedial project manager for the EPA. "We have great community support tools, and we can leverage our resources to help Navassa with redevelopment."
The meeting drew not only the EPA and its contracting company Skeo Solution's staff, but also representatives from U.S. Rep. David Rouzer's office, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the N.C. Coastal Federation.
The meeting was devoted to developing a needs assessment for the cleanup and revitalization. The cleanup goals are to turn the site into productive, environmentally responsive reuse; address public health concerns stemming from the contaminated site; and protect and enhance the ecosystems.
The revitalization goals are to: build on and preserve Navassa's historical, multicultural and ecological assets; grow the economy via tourism and increase the tax base; improve housing; boost educational achievement; attract jobs; expand access to parks and recreation; and promote environmentally friendly development.
Town officials were concerned that the land, which is now owned by the Multistate Environmental Response Trust, will be sold to parties that will ignore Navassa's vision for redevelopment. That is illegal, said L'Tonya Spencer, public affairs specialist with the EPA. The Superfund Reuse Initiative ensures that the people who are most impacted will drive the site's future use.
Navassa also retains control of the land through zoning, they said. For example, the town can prevent destructive businesses, such as a toxin-producing manufacturing plant, from moving in through its zoning policies.
Though qualms remained, town officials were pleased with the night's progress.
"We are off to a good start," said Mayor Eulis Willis. "They are listening to the community. I hope they continue to do so throughout the process."
After the EPA found creosote and other hazardous substances in the 250 acres bordered by the Cape Fear River, the Brunswick River, Sturgeon Creek and Navassa Road, the area was declared a Superfund site.
The Superfund will provide $86 million for the site's cleanup and $25 million for restoration. The redevelopment of the land is not funded.
Source: Lynda Van Kuren, StarNewsOnline