A state plan which could help the more than three-hundred Iowa communities with abandoned industrial sites is nearly in place. The Iowa House and Senate have endorsed legislation which sets up a three-million dollar grant and loan fund to help finance the clean-up of so-called “brownfields.”Representative Willard Jenkins, a republican from Waterloo has worked with a small group of legislators and officials from Iowa cities to develop the grant program to help clean-up those “brownfields.”A state law passed in 1997 removed some of the liability for businesses which work to reclaim abandoned property. Jenkins says that didn’t provide the incentive they’d hoped it would. He hopes this plan is enough to push businesses to develop these areas.Jenkins says once a developer cleans up “brownfield” property, ownership cannot revert to the previous owner.Senator Mary Lundby, a republican from Marion, says the bill is part one of an effort to develop land use policy.There are 312 identified “brownfields” in Iowa, places like abandoned dry cleaning operations or industrial buildings. The bill must be signed by Governor Vilsack before it becomes law.
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