Vineyard Square | Assessment to Support Local Planning
In 2023, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be reconstructing M-40, including the section that travels the entire length of the Village of Lawton’s downtown on Main Street. The village is taking this opportunity to create a brand-new streetscape and, in preparation for this large-scale project, has established a new visioning plan for the village. A key part of this plan is the repurposing of a vacant lot, which currently creates an obvious “hole” in the downtown, into “Vineyard Square.” Vineyard Square would provide a flexible public space for community gatherings, outdoor dining, and public events and will feature a pavilion for the local Farmers Market.
The current owner of the vacant lot offered to donate the property to the village to facilitate development of Vineyard Square. Due to the historical use of the site for many years as a gasoline station and automotive repair facility with former underground storage tanks, the village was unable to accept the property donation until appropriate environmental assessment was completed.
The village applied to the Van Buren County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (VBCBRA) for funding to complete due diligence activities at the property to support acquisition and redevelopment planning. Utilizing the VBCBRA’s U.S. EPA Assessment Grant, Envirologic conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the property and identified multiple concerns, including the potential continued presence of buried tanks on site. A Phase II ESA was also conducted, including the completion of a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) geophysical survey and the collection of soil and groundwater samples on portions of the site not assessed during previous environmental investigations. The Phase I and II ESA results detailed the presence of petroleum and metals impacts to soil and groundwater on site. Envirologic subsequently prepared a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) on behalf of the Village of Lawton to provide remedial liability protection for pre-existing contaminant conditions. Due Care planning was also completed to support redevelopment of the property in a manner that does not result in unacceptable health exposures or exacerbate contaminant conditions.
The completed assessment activities positioned the Village of Lawton appropriately for acquisition of the site and supported the village’s redevelopment planning for this property. In addition to the investment specific to Vineyard Square, in 2023 the village will make significant additional investment in the downtown to ensure this development’s success in the years to come. The Vineyard Square project, coupled with the 2023 new streetscape construction, will be a catalyst for investment in the local community and will provide an attractive venue for new shops and eateries seeking a business location.