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PONTIAC,MI-Oakland County has begun a brownfield redevelopment program here, funded through state coffers. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Mayor Walter Moore held a press conference Tuesday to announce three parcels that will receive money for cleanup along Woodward Avenue.

Patterson gave Moore an $80,000 check to fund a brownfield redevelopment plan that includes three specific properties on the loop around Downtown Pontiac.

Marty Seaman, the solid waste manager for Oakland County, is heading up the new Initiative. He says the main components of the plan will assess current county properties that may contain hazardous chemicals and pollution, create an inventory of these properties and help local units of government to create their own brownfield development plans.

Seaman says about $250,000 of state grants are being used for the plan. The three properties include the Central Schools Building north of City Hall, the 41 N. Saginaw building and the old Sears building north of Huron on Saginaw.

Pontiac, one of the decomposing cities of Southeast Michigan, really could use brownfield dollars, Seaman says. The grant will also help build technology uses in the city.

“Downtown Pontiac is located directly on top of one of the main Internet switches in Michigan. We’ve already had a few Internet-related companies that have expressed interest in the property,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Local developers include the Turner Co. and Arco, and have talked about building some office and retail on the sites, Seaman says. He adds the money will help pay for costs to investigate how much contamination permeates each site. This cost is at times the death knell for projects, Seaman notes.

“By paying for this inspection, we can make projects interesting to developers again,” he says.

The Pontiac projects are the first of many the county will consider in the future, including older cities like Oak Park and Hazel Park, directly across Eight Mile Road from Detroit.

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