The city of McKinney is promoting a grant program that provides money to clean up potential hazard sites as part of its revitalization of its historic downtown.
The city received state and federal grant money totaling about $400,000 in 2011 for the Brownfields Program, a tool property owners can use to look into whether or not their land has pollution or any kind of contamination.
If contaminants are identified on the property, the money helps clean up the area at no cost to the property owner.
The program focuses on the state Highway 5 corridor through the city’s east side.
“When you’re looking at the town center of McKinney, there were many uses -- manufacturing, industry; there was a lot that went on here,” city spokeswoman Anna Clark said. “There weren’t the same environmental standards in this area as there are now.”
According to members of the city planning department, the grant money has a twofold purpose.
“One, identify potential contaminants or, two, give them a clean bill of health so that they can reinvest in their property,” said Ross Altobelli, McKinney planning manager.
It also plays into the city’s vision for the historic downtown, part of the Town Center Study Initiative to bring revitalization to the original city center.
“It’s when we’re looking at taking our downtown area and expanding it from the west side of Highway 5 to the east side of Highway 5, there’s room for people to come and visit,” said Clark, citing the use of grant money to study the safety of a parking lot near the old Flour Mill, which is undergoing a redevelopment.
“We want to maintain that historic element and the authenticity of our town center,” Clark said.
At the beginning of the program, about 20 properties in the Highway 5 corridor were identified to undergo analysis.