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Committee works on list of potential brownfields

Group gathering list of sites for cleanup and redevelopment

DIXON – The city’s Brownfields Redevelopment Advisory Committee is racking up sites that could be good candidates for cleanup and economic development.

In May, the city received a $300,000 brownfields assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay for environmental tests and action plans for flipping blighted properties.

The City Council created an advisory committee earlier this month tasked with finding the sites with the most potential, ranging from prime riverfront and downtown properties with environmental hurdles to smaller spaces that need a boost to attract commercial development.

Underutilized sites near existing businesses and industries interested in expanding would also be good candidates, said committee member Scott Brown, director of structural engineering at Wendler Engineering Services and a member of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street board.

“For bigger employers, I think the best chance for expansion is with those that are contiguous to the property,” he said.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said they could draft a form letter and gauge the interest of employers or other organizations, like the Dixon Park District or school district, that could have need for assessing sites.

Potential properties include old factories and businesses, vacant lots, parking lots and the former city dump off of Keul Road near Walmart.

Most of the identified properties are along the riverfront or downtown, though many are scattered throughout the city limits – eligible sites must be within city limits but cannot be owned by the city, unless the property falls under unique circumstances.

Public Works Director Matt Heckman, who’s heading the committee, said the city has put in a lot of effort to build up the riverfront and downtown to generate more activity in the community, and there’s more work to be done.

“It’s come a long way in recent years, and I’d like to see that continue to happen,” he said.

The next step for the group is to rank each property based on different criteria, like its current use, development potential, and whether its location is in the enterprise zone, tax increment financing districts or floodplain.

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