Mel Pins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the workshop is focused on what are known as “brownfield” areas, and he offers an example.
“If there’s a closed gas station in your community that’s been sitting there for a number of years, why has it not been redeveloped?” Pins asks. “That’s probably because somebody fears contamination. Whether there are problems or not, that perception or that stigma holds up reuse and redevelopment.” The all-day workshop is free and open to anyone, targeting Iowa community leaders and non-profit groups.
“The workshop is designed to cover some of the things we can offer, both technical and financial assistance, to help investigate environmental issues at these sites, to see if they’re suitable for reuse, and if necessary, even to help clean them up.”
The DNR workshop is underway at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)