Commerce has returned to a long-contaminated former weaponry plant in Fridley beside the Mississippi River, but work redeveloping the Superfund site isn't complete.
The Northern Stacks site, which is undergoing a multiphase overhaul of the former ordinance plant, won the largest share of the $2.8 million in Livable Communities grants approved by the Metropolitan Council this week.
A $1 million grant will be used to clean up polluted soils and prepare a site for two industrial buildings at Northern Stacks, which already counts paper and food service supply companies and a high-speed go-cart track as tenants in other new buildings. The project, now in its final phase, has received about $2 million in such grants for its earlier phases.
The 122-acre property is one of the largest commercial redevelopments in the Twin Cities. Other public aid for it includes Fridley tax increment financing and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grants.
"It was a big Superfund site and exactly the reason why the federal government started to provide funds and identify sites that needed cleanup," said Scott Hickok, Fridley's director of community development.
The facility began as Northern Pump in the 1940s, employing thousands of people who made weapons parts for the military. It continued manufacturing military weaponry for several decades under different names. The company is now BAE Systems, which still has engineers and research staff on the site, although Hickok said the manufacturing moved to Kentucky.
Minneapolis was another big winner in the latest round of grants, garnering just over $1 million for six projects around the city. The largest chunk, $406,000, will help clean up a former foundry, junk yard and gas station in the North Loop, on 2nd Avenue between N. 2nd and N. 1st streets.
Another $341,000 grant will target asbestos and lead paint removal at the former Woolworth Building at Minnesota Street and 7th Place E. in St. Paul.
The "tax base revitalization account" grants, often used to clean up contamination, are among several types of Livable Communities grants from the Met Council. The agency has awarded more than $100 million in the cleanup grants since the program began in the mid-1990s.