St. Paul is getting a $200,000 federal brownfields grant to plan the future cleanup of the West Side Flats, a 120-acre riverfront area opposite downtown that the city hopes to turn into a mixed-use urban village.
The Environmental Protection Agency grant, announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum and Mayor Chris Coleman, will pay for development of a plan to address pollution in the area, much of it now vacant after decades of industrial use.
According to a master plan adopted by the city last year, the city hopes that the area will develop into a mix of residential, commercial, industrial, office, institutional, entertainment and recreational uses.
"Developing housing and job opportunities along the riverfront for the people of St. Paul has long been part of our vision for the city. This grant allows us to take the next steps toward making that vision come to life in a way that benefits all residents," Coleman said in a prepared statement.
The area is bounded by the Mississippi River on the north, Hwy. 52 on the east, Plato Boulevard on the south and Wabasha Street on the west. It's called the West Side flats because it occupies the level floodplain on the river's west bank.
In 2003, U.S. Bank opened a $60.5 million operations center off Robert Street in the flats area, a development that required millions in public subsidy to clean the polluted site.