According to reports released earlier this week, a former foundry in Houston’s Fifth Ward may be seeing new life and economic promise:
The site of the foundry, which went under the name Many Diversified Interests, reportedly produced thousands of tons of lead and arsenic pollution from 1926 to 1992.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the property as a “Superfund” site in 1999, which would make it eligible for federal funds geared toward cleanup efforts.
After nearly two decades of cleanup efforts and groundwater monitoring, the EPA announced in a press release parts of the 35-acre site to be among those Superfund sites showing the “greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential:”
“Today’s redevelopment list incorporates Superfund sites ready to become catalysts for economic growth and revitalization,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt provided in the press release.
He further wrote how the agency will be “more than a collaborative partner to remediate the nation’s most contaminated sites, we’re also working to successfully integrate Superfund sites back into communities across the country.”
Pruitt additionally mentioned the agency will be working with local developers to examine the properties and create plans for economic redevelopment.
In 2015, housing developer Frank Liu announced plans to build 538 homes on the site, but the project never took off; Liu’s office did not comment on if he would be part of the EPA’s newest prosepctive plans.
Local residents are reportedly not voicing any opposition to any potential redevelopment plans:
The former foundry, as they say, is a decade’s-old eyesore and environmental hazard, so the cooperation between federal officials and local developers may be a key component to restoring the site’s economic productivity.
Stay tuned, Houston.