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‘Shoutout’ to Pulaski

Dear Editor:

A big “shoutout” to the Town of Pulaski and to the Jackson Park Inn and Al’s on First for hosting the 2018 Central Appalachian Regional Brownfields Summit, April 10-11, 2018. If you were wondering about all the folks walking around Downtown last Tuesday and Wednesday, now you know!

A “brownfield” is a site or building where there may be feared concerns about hazardous materials or petroleum contamination that prevents the purchase and reinvestment in such properties. The Town of Pulaski has received three brownfields assessment grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), beginning in 2010 and still active today. That fact, in itself, is an extraordinary record. In addition, further funds have come into the Town (taking the burden off taxpayers) for further redevelopment and renewal from sources such as the Virginia’s Brownfields Assessment Grant, Rural Development, and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

The purpose of “brownfields” assessment and remediation is to lower the threshold of anxiety a potential purchaser may have about a site or building – opening the property up for redevelopment. The once empty Hill Plant on Valley Street is a good example. It went from vacant to now under new ownership by the Pulaski County Economic Development Authority with clients warehousing materials. The old General Chemical Foundry site on First Street, NE is another good example. The unused property is destined to be a recreation area for basketball and a skateboard park. The historic Dalton Building is back into play for redevelopment as are buildings on Main Street owned by West Main Development, LLC.

The old “Dunnivant Building” on First Street NW – now the Jackson Park Inn and the home of Al’s on First – brought local government officials, consultants, and officials from EPA and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) into Town last week. Okay, we did get a chance to show off at bit and tell Pulaski’s story. Folks from these many communities took away very positive impressions of our Town to share with others.

Finally, special thanks to Shawn Utt, Town Manager; Nichole Hair, Deputy Town Manager; Sybil Atkinson, chair of the Town’s Economic Development Board that serves as our “Brownfields Task Force,” and to my colleague, Lori Kroll, Community Relations Specialist at Draper Aden Associates, for the wonderful presentation Wednesday morning: “Town of Pulaski: Igniting Sparks of Community Revitalization.”

As I have suggested many times, often to the audience’s disbelief, Pulaski’s best times are ahead. I still believe that future reality.

 

John B. White

Former Town of Pulaski Economic Developer now Community Resource Specialist at Draper Aden Associates

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