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City of Tallahassee receives EPA grant to tackle pollution issues on Southside

Grant value is $500,000
Posted at 11:25 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-14 00:36:52-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Max Epstein is a member of the Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group.

Protecting the environment is a big deal to him.

He says over the years, Tallahassee's Southside has been polluted.

"If you look at how the Southside was developed because of Jim Crow and red lining of neighborhoods you got waste water treatment plants right next to residential neighborhoods," Epstein said.

Now, the city is looking at ways to clean up some property for future development.

"We just want to make sure wherever projects are being planned for that, that contamination is cleared," city of Tallahassee mayor pro tem Curtis Richardson said.

The city of Tallahassee received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The plan is to clean up areas where pollution in the ground is holding back re-development.

Those sites are called Brownfield Areas.

Richardson told ABC 27 that includes, "Areas that that either business or residential that have been contaminated with for instance dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, other types of contamination."

He says the Orange Avenue Park Development and South City Foundation Learning Center will benefit from the EPA money.

For people like Bruce Bruce Strouble that money should be used to build equity across the city.

"That has to be at the center of the city's focus to make sure that they center equity or else it won't have the necessary impact to improve things on the Southside," said Strouble, a Senior Manager of Equitable Climate Resilience Projects at Groundwork USA.

One of many projects leaders are introducing to move the Southside forward.