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Redevelopment Planning Project Kicks Off in Waynesboro - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Redevelopment Planning Project Kicks Off in Waynesboro

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Waynesboro is determined to build up its downtown - from the South River Greenway to streetscape efforts and façade renovations to downtown buildings. Now the city is working on an overall master plan. 

Some of Waynesboro's older buildings have an important unanswered question: could they be contaminated? Or maybe that's just what people think. 

"Hopefully many of the properties is just a perceived contamination. They may not actually be contaminated," said Michael Barnes, Waynesboro city planner. 

But what people think matters. "The perception itself is a barrier to redevelopment," Barnes said. 

A $400,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency aims to address this issue. It's called the Brownfields Redevelopment Planning Project. City planners will use two-thirds of the grant to look at potential contamination on sites. 

"Everything from asbestos to something that was a former use there - petroleum or something else," Barnes said. 

And there's more to it. 

"I can find and remove environmental issues with the property. But if that's the end of the thought process, then it just sits there," said Phillip McKalips, of Environmental Standards, Inc. 

So the other third of the grant money will create revitalization plans for individual properties. 

"How to get these projects moving forward and really get them to be vital stimulant to that redevelopment of the downtown," McKalips said. 

City planners say these revitalization plans create a sense of assurance. 

"They help people who want to invest in the downtown have confidence that the city and other people who want to invest have a shared vision," Barnes said. 

The properties haven't been chosen yet and participation is voluntary.

Click here to learn more about Waynesboro's downtown revitalization efforts.

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