Conway Scrap Metal has been working for the past few months to clear the scrap metal yard on Markham Street, said Scott Grummer, program manager of Community Development, but he doesn’t think the company will meet the City’s initial deadline of June 30.
In September of 2013, Conway City Council passed an ordinance to purchase the 1.44 acres of land currently occupied by Conway Scrap Metal.
The agreement is to pay the landowners, Rosa M. West Trust, $315,000, in a minimum of three equal installments, one in 2013 and two in 2014.
According to the ordinance, the third installment “is to be paid no later than June 30th, 2014, but not before the City approves that all contract contingencies have been met and title has been closed.”
Grummer said the West family is working on the final cleanup of the site, and is in negotiations with the City to define whose role that will be.
The City has given Conway Scrap Metal two out of three payments in advance to aid in the cleanup process. The final payment will take place when the title is transferred to the City.
The West family contracted with Little Rock scrap metal recycling companies Sol Alman Co. and Tenenbaum Recycling Group LLC at an agreed price per pound, Grummer said, to transfer the majority of their inventory.
Part of the West family’s cleanup efforts included the demolition of a condemned historic home on the Spencer Street side of the property.
The City is partnering with Environmental Protection Agency, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in a hazardous remediation process.
The City initial received a Brownfield Remediation grant when it entered into the intent to purchase contract, but the City will not be able to apply for additional Brownfield Remediation Grants until 2015, Grummer said.
The Brownfield Remediation Grant has helped the City start the ADEQ remediation process.
Phase 1 included a study that was completed about a month ago, Grummer said, and determined the history of the site, he said.
The study showed the site has been used to host a scrap metal business for about 100 years, and has had surrounding businesses such as gas stations and dry cleaners that have historically had adverse environmental impacts.
Phase 2 or the second environmental study will not take place until the City owns the land, Grummer said.
“Once Phase 2 is complete, it will tell us exactly what’s in the soil,” he said, “and provide guidance for how remediation will take place.”
The City can then make cost estimates. Grummer is planning to apply for a $200,000 EPA Brownfield Remediation Grant this fall with an office out of Texas who he’s been in close communications with throughout this process.
“We hope this opportunity will be successful, but there’s no guarantee,” he said.
Part of the ADEQ process also requires the City to monitor the site until the land is remediated, Grummer said.
The City will be required to prevent storm water from escaping the site, and make sure the site is safe for people who may walk through the property.
Grummer said he anticipates this to involve a bit of “site prep” such as moving earth, leveling land and planting rye grass until remediation efforts can begin next year.