Traverse City Record-Eagle

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June 17, 2014

UPDATE: County officials seek funds for riverfront condo project

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County officials hope to secure $1.5 million in public grants and loans to pave the way for an $11.8-million high-end riverfront housing development.

County Planning and Zoning officials want county commissioners to OK applications for $660,000 in Michigan Department of Environmental Quality loans and grants, and an $880,000 Community Development Block Grant during a meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The county's Brownfield Development Authority is applying for the outside funding as developers for the Uptown Riverfront Town Homes prepare to erect at least 10 multi-story condominium units at the intersection of Pine and State streets.

Several funding snags at the DEQ and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in the last six months delayed construction, but project developer Mike Wills said things will be back on track, if the new round of funding requests is approved.

"We should begin to see some activity on-site hopefully in August," Wills said.

The property now houses a small office building on one lot and parking lots on the rest. The Boardman River historically ran through the property until fill dirt redirected the river. The fill runs up to 24 feet deep and is contaminated with heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.

Officials plan to ask the DEQ for about $365,000 in grants and a $295,000 loan, primarily to remove and dispose of contaminated soil, and install a vapor mitigation system in the area, according to county records.

They want to use the $880,000 CDBG grant to remove "urban fill" from the site, and install sheeting and shoring to secure the site so it can be built upon, said Jean Derenzy, the county's deputy director of planning and development.

"It’s the unstable fill that’s causing a tremendous amount of difficulty," she said.

County commissioners will hold a public hearing at Wednesday night's meeting about the CDBG grant plans.

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