Council seeks Brownfield grant for environmental cleanup project
Tecumseh City Council members voted at its Monday, June 17, meeting to support the city’s application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a Brownfield Redevelopment Grant to support the redevelopment of property being considered as a restaurant location for Salsaria’s, a Mexican food restaurant. The building is at 146 E. Chicago Boulevard and is currently the Ivy Gallery, owned by Bill and Bev Zietlow.
Tecumseh Economic Development Director Paula Holtz, sitting in at the meeting for Kevin Welch, said that through a previous exploration, it was learned that the property was once used as a dry cleaning facility.
“Site clean-up work needs to be done in order to be fit for occupancy,” said Holtz. “We’ve been given clearance by the state of Michigan to apply for the funding. We’ve been told that it could be funded for up to $175,000.” She said plans need to be made to determine exactly what needs to be done. Holtz added that the property owner would provide a match of $20,000 to complete the funding.
“Salsaria’s is proposing a $280,000 investment, and we’re really hopeful that this will work out and it would be a great way to redevelop that property,” Holtz said.
Salsaria’s, owned by Valerie Robichaud, has been in operation in Adrian for the past 21 years and this would be their second site. The restaurant’s plans are to include a new commercial kitchen and building upgrades. The owner expects to create seven to ten full-time jobs through the addition of the restaurant.
The paperwork for the project includes an executive summary prepared by Holtz that mentions one of the goals for the city’s Downtown Blueprint was “to create a cluster of specialty retail, food, art and entertainment businesses on Chicago Boulevard,” and that the addition of Salsaria’s was a “perfect fit” for that plan.
The report also notes that while Salsaria’s has the resources to redevelop the site for its restaurant needs, it does not have the resources to conduct the environmental response actions needed to prepare the Brownfield site for re-use.
During an assessment for a prospective purchaser in 2011, tetrachloroethylene contamination was found in the basement and would have to be mitigated before re-use. Further investigation also revealed two metallic anomalies beneath the building that experts deem could be underground storage tanks which would need to be emptied.
Holtz said if the grant is funded, it would allow Salsaria’s to proceed with its plans to locate a restaurant in downtown Tecumseh.
In other business, council:
• Approved application to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for rental rehabilitation program funding to develop upper floor residential units in downtown Tecumseh. Two property owners have asked to be included in the program for renovation of two units above Carpet On Wheels, and five units on upper floors of the James Building, which is above The Wild Iris.
• Approved a beer tent by Evans Street Station from 10 a.m. to midnight on July 20, subject to Michigan Liquor Control Commission, during Sidewalk Sales events. Mayor Richard Johnson, who owns Evans Street Station, recused himself from the vote and passed the gavel to Mayor Pro Tem Jack Baker for this action.