Online Staff Report
FREEPORT, Ill. — The City of Freeport announced Oct. 10 that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has issued a comprehensive No Further Remediation letter (NFR) to the City of Freeport for the Rawleigh Complex in downtown Freeport. An NFR letter protects future purchasers and/or users from further environmental cleanup suits.
The letter means that all clean-up has been completed to standards.
This milestone marks the completion of environmental remediation activities at the Rawleigh complex.
“The NFR paves the way to redevelopment of the Rawleigh complex,” said Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz. “The city has been working diligently toward this goal for more than a decade. It has been a long march, but it is worth it. This is a key step toward putting these buildings back in private ownership, generating jobs in our community.”
The Rawleigh complex includes five buildings totaling about 450,000 square feet along the Pecatonica River in downtown Freeport. The complex once served as home to the W. T. Rawleigh Company in Freeport. That company vacated the building in the late 1980s. In 2002, the City of Freeport entered into a redevelopment agreement with Oracle Development. Oracle purchased and redeveloped the Rawleigh office building. Since then, the city has continued work on environmental remediation of the other buildings, preparing them for eventual sale and redevelopment.
Remediation efforts have included a number of components. Most recently, the city has abated asbestos-containing material and lead-based paint from the buildings and removed contaminated soil, replacing it with clean fill and installing an engineered barrier.
“The city has been fortunate to receive over $2,000,000 in federal grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the environmental assessment and cleanup of the Rawleigh Complex,” said Shelly Griswold, interim director of the City of Freeport Community Development Department. “New grants from the USEPA, HUD, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)and the United States Department of Agriculture are helping us to advance past the environmental cleanup stage to the redevelopment stage. We are actively pursuing sale and redevelopment of Building D at the Rawleigh Complex.”
Griswold also indicated that a new IDOT grant may enable the city to develop a multimodal transportation center in yet another part of the Rawleigh complex. If this comes to fruition, it could serve as an Amtrak station when those services resume in 2015.
Posted Oct. 10, 2013