CEDARBURG – More than two years ago, city officials toured the progress of the redevelopment of Amcast Industrial Corp. properties, also known as Tax Incremental Financing District No. 4, at Hamilton Road and Johnson Street in Cedarburg. .
On Friday, members of the Cedarburg Common Council and Community Development Authority took another tour of the properties and also went further into the affected areas with developer DJ Burns of Drake Consulting Group, as well as officials from the Environmental Protection Agency. and the Department of Natural Resources.
There are two parcels of approximately 8.5 acres that Burns plans to redevelop: the north parcel on Hamilton Road, where the old factory was, and the south parcel, which is on the corner of Hamilton Road and Johnson Street, where there is an office building. .
But the Amcast site goes beyond those two plots, which need some sort of cleanup. It also includes the quarry pond at Zeunert Park, Wilshire Pond, and some nearby private property.
“The actual total affected area is probably 30 to 40 acres in excess, including the quarry pond, Wilshire pond and the connection there (Cedars III),” Burns said.
Progress has been slow with this Superfund site due to many reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in who was the EPA project manager, among other things.
However, citizens can now see a very faint light at the end of this long tunnel.
EPA concluded interviews seeking public comment last week.
Zach Sasnow, EPA’s current project manager, told attendees the next steps that need to be done and when he expects them to be done.
EPA is currently reviewing a Proposed Plan for approval, which will be released to the public sometime in early 2023, Sasnow said.
“Any comments during that period, we have to respond in what’s called a Response Summary and that goes on the EPA Record of Decision, which is the final remedy decision,” he said.
Sasnow added that after that, they can start getting access agreements to each resident garden that has been affected, but noted that residents can deny them access. EPA could also begin hiring contractors for the remedial design phase of the project.
Sasnow said he hopes to start work in late 2024 or sometime in 2025. EPA will need to secure funding for the site.
When asked if the cleanup can be done in phases so that development can begin on some portions of the property, Sasnow said they could discuss that more when EPA has a remedial design contractor where they will go into those details.
Some city officials have expressed a desire to begin development as soon as possible in order to build increments on the property.
The city borrowed $3.4 million and lent it to the Drake Consulting Group to clean up the Amcast site. At a Community Development Authority meeting in late September, city manager Mikko Hilvo said 94% of that has been spent.
“Currently, we budget the loan payments through taxes, but it will eventually be paid for through the site-built increment when the site is rebuilt,” Hilvo said Monday.
Mikko stated that when this TID was created, the city understood that it would not recover the costs of its project.
Once the rest of the $3.4 million is used, Hilvo said there are no other payments for the project from the city.
At the September meeting, Burns said he had completed what the EPA had authorized him to do. Burns’ attorney, Jacques Condon and Hilvo, have also said the development cannot occur until the site is cleaned up.