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Published: Tuesday, 11/8/2005

EPA lauds Monroe brownfield project

MONROE A housing development project here was among those showcased by federal officials recently as an example of how contaminated land can be reused after it s been cleaned up.

Mason Run was one of several Midwest projects honored for outstanding brownfield redevelopment work by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Certificates of appreciation were presented at the agency s National Brownfields Conference in Denver. Other projects included ones in the Cleveland and Milwaukee areas as well as in various parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota.

Brownfields are abandoned or contaminated industrial sites.

Environmental regulators have long encouraged their cleanup and reuse as a means of curbing urban sprawl.

Industrial sites are often in cities. Developers who get scared off by the high cost of cleaning them up may wind up shifting their focus to unspoiled land in the suburbs.

Mason Run, where redevelopment began in 2002, has been one of Michigan s largest brownfield sites to be redeveloped. U.S. EPA Midwest Regional Chief Tom Skinner recognized it and other projects as examples of creativity, innovation, and ingenuity.

Mason Run is being developed by Crosswinds Communities of Novi, Mich., on portions of a 45-acre site that had once been the former Consolidated Packaging Corp. s plant at 921 East Elm Ave.

The city demolished the plant about 15 years ago. The U.S. EPA has provided grants over the years to help fund the encapsulation and removal of contaminated soil there, officials said.

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