Puddles gather on the property
of the old Bermico building Tuesday after an early
morning rain in West Bend. The property has been
identified as a brownfield target site for a
John Ehlke/Daily News
Community leaders have identified at least four priority
brownfield sites that will receive money from a U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency grant for clean-up and
Last year, the EPA
announced Washington County would receive a $600,000
grant to fund an effort to inventory, prioritize,
clean up and
ultimately redevelop sites.
Site Redevelopment Committee, a group charged with
handling the grant funds, met Tuesday morning to plan
the next steps in prioritizing these former industrial
or commercial sites that are in some way contaminated,
barring them from immediate redevelopment.
Sielski, deputy administrator with Washington County
Planning and Parks Department and member of the group’s
project management team, laid out where the $600,000
partner in this coalition will get $40,000 for their
highest priority site, making up $200,000 of the grant.
communities receiving $40,000 include West Bend,
Hartford, Jackson, Slinger and Richfield.
Bend’s priority site is the old Bermico and Blaine
properties, which lie between the Eisenbahn State Trail
and Milwaukee River on the northern end of the city.
Administrator T.J. Justice said the area presented
safety, health and environmental issues.
County Board Supervisor Michael Miller, a former mayor
of West Bend, said the old Bermico building has been an
issue for many years.
“I’ve been out of city government for 10 years, and it
was a problem probably 10 years before that,” he said.
Hartford City Planner Justin Drew said the city’s
priority brownfield is at the northern end of the
downtown area, near the intersection of North Johnson
and West State streets.
“There have been a number of false starts to try and
redevelop this area into a mixed-use area,” he said.
Jessi Balcom, Slinger village administrator, identified
the Niphos property on Oak Street as its priority site.
And Village of Richfield Administrator Jim Healy pointed
to an extensive property west of Interstate 41 and north
of Highway 167 as its priority brownfield.
“This area … has been for the most part the source of a
lot of discussion in terms of economic development for
the village of Richfield,” he said.
SRC will determine which sites will receive the other
$400,000 in funding.
Jolena Presti, project manager with Vandewalle &
Associates Inc., a consultant group working with the
committee, gave an overview of the prioritization
process for other brownfield sites.
said the potential sites would be ranked based on
redevelopment feasibility, environmental conditions and
Before delving into the clean up and development stages
of any sites, there are a few steps the group has to
includes two phases of environmental site assessments
and a countywide inventory and site prioritization
Site Redevelopment Committee formed two years ago after
the Washington County Board of Supervisors voted to
apply for the EPA grant.
group also laid out reasons brownfield development
positively impacted communities.
of the benefits the group listed includes turning
liabilities into assets, creating more potential for
economic growth, beautifying once-blighted areas,
increasing communities’ tax bases and bolstering a sense
of pride with residents.
Members of the community will also get a chance to share
committee plans on holding a county-wide community
workshop from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 15 in MPTC’s auditorium,
2151 N. Main St.
Reach reporter Alex Zank at