Intersection of Downing Ave. and Paragon Dr., Erie, Pennsylvania
Could you describe the use of innovative environmental solutions in the project?
Now known as the Savocchio Business Park, the former Cohen /A-1 Auto Property is located in the City of Erie’s east side, adjacent to the largest public housing project in the City (an area with a poverty rate of 55%). Overall the area contains 20+ acres of land, comprised of over 40 individual parcels, with reuse potential. Portions of the site were formerly used as an auto scrap yard, resulting in serious environmental contamination, including heavy metals and PCBs. There were numerous liens on the parcels and the surrounding neighborhood was blighted.
The site was home to five deteriorating, unsecured buildings, which were becoming a hotbed of illegal activity in the area.
The buildings also were a safety hazard to neighborhood children. Piles of old tires, household debris, industrial waste, and appliances that had been dumped illegally over the years littered the site. Much of the site was overgrown by vegetation.
All of these factors had kept private developers from investing in the property since the late 1970’s. GEIDC and other community leaders recognized the site’s potential, and the need to put this blighted site back into productive use.
On the northern border of the project area is the Norfolk Southern Rail Line, offering the potential for rail service. Additionally, the nearby East Side Connector provides quick, easy connection to Interstates 79 and 90. Finally, the adjacent low income housing provided a good pool of labor for businesses who locate to the site.
Innovative environmental solutions included:
• Consolidation of contaminated soil from ten separate areas across the site into a PCB contaminated soil mound, which was then properly capped. While this capped area cannot be excavated or disturbed, it can be used for vehicle parking and therefore still produces value. This on-site solution saved over $1.5 million when compared to the option of removal and off-site disposal.
• The relocation of several small, low-quality wetlands, scattered throughout the site to a larger, high-quality wetland area that was located on the edge of the property, creating larger, fully developable lots, enhancing the existing wetland, and protecting it from future disturbance.
• Use of Risk Assessment and development of risk-based cleanup standards to maximize the environmental benefit of available remediation funds while protecting human health and the environment.
Greater Erie Industrial Development Corporation,
5240 Knowlege Parkway, Erie, Pennsylvania
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