MARYSVILLE — Four members of the public attended the city of Marysville’s open house on Wednesday, Oct. 24, to discuss a federal grant for cleaning up the Geddes Marina property, but that was four more than had attended the most recent previous meeting on another such grant. As such, city Land Use Engineering Services Manager Shawn Smith considered it progress, especially since the evening’s attendees were already asking questions before the meeting had even officially begun.
“This is the fourth time we’ve applied for a Brownfields grant,” Smith said in the large meeting room of the Marysville Library. “We’re just going to keep trying on this one.”
The city of Marysville’s application for a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields cleanup grant that would be used to remediate contaminated ground at the five-acre site, on the Ebey waterfront, that the city bought in July of 2010. The property contains some types of chemicals and pollutants typical of the timber industry and marine operations that have existed along the waterfront since the late 1800s.
Smith explained that the city had previously applied for two other $200,000 EPA Brownfields cleanup grants, as well as a $550,000 EPA Brownfields multi-purpose pilot grant, that also would have been put toward the assessment and remediation of contaminated soils on the site.
Harold and Angie Cody are concerned with the Geddes Marina property because Harold’s towing yard borders it to the north on First Street, and he agreed with Smith that the demolition of 18 of the marina’s 23 boat shelters that had commenced earlier that same day was well overdue. Smith noted that the expense of demolishing those boat shelters, like the costs of the marina cleanup, will fall on the city, which is why it’s continuing to apply for Brownfields grants.
“We estimate the cleanup will cost about $700,000, and that’s not even including the current demolition work,” Smith said. “Grant applications like ours are prioritized according to things like economic benefits, so we haven’t received those awards because there are other places that are worse off than us.”
Smith nonetheless concurred with Marysville citizen Pam Jensen’s impression that such a cleanup of the city’s waterfront would facilitate its downtown revitalization by making the property more attractive to retail and residential developers.
“The long-term plan is for the marina to go away,” Smith said “The city owns the marina property. We knew it was contaminated when we bought it, and we knew we’d have to clean it up before we could sell it.”
In addition to converting the waterfront to mixed-use business and living spaces, Smith added that the city’s plans include a public trail from the Ebey Waterfront Park to the Qwuloolt estuary, but he conceded that long-term cleanup at the marina at 1326 First St., just west of the boat launch park, would require both structural and environmental work.
“So, are you testing the water in the marina?” asked Marysville resident Carol Winter.
“We’re testing the soil underneath, since the water changes with the tides,” Smith said.
“So will you just scoop the contaminated dirt out?” Harold Cody asked.
“And where will you take it?” Jensen added. “And how will you treat it?”
“We could wind up hauling it as far as Longview,” Smith said. “Some treatment methods involve burning it, while others aerate it to dissipate the petroleum materials.”
The EPA awarded the city with a Brownfields grant in May of 2009 to clean up the Crown Pacific/Interfor mill site at 60 State Ave. on the waterfront just east of State Avenue.
Brownfields grants are designed to help revitalize former industrial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use.
As Smith noted, long-term plans as identified in the city’s 2009 Downtown Master Plan would see the Ebey waterfront redeveloped with trails, apartments or condominiums, as well as some commercial development.
For more information about the grant application, contact Smith at 360-363-8224.