U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy today announced the federal government will prioritize the completion of decontamination efforts at a former dry-cleaning facility in historic downtown Sanford, Fla., and expedite the redevelopment of the property to benefit of the local community and economy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently included the Sanford site on its new “Superfund Redevelopment Focus List.”
“The inclusion of the Sanford site on the EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Focus List is a promising step forward for the historic downtown area of this rapidly-transforming city,” said Murphy. “I’m committed to working with local stakeholders to ensure this redevelopment improves Sanford’s quality of life and creates more economic opportunities for families and small businesses.”
According to EPA, the Sanford site and the 30 other formerly-contaminated sites on the focus list have significant redevelopment potential based on a variety of factors, including community interest in redeveloping the property, access to transportation, the value of the land, and other critical development drivers. The Sanford site is the only central Florida property on the focus list. To date, EPA has spent over $2.3 million on remedial actions to ensure that the site does not pose a risk to human health or the environment.
The EPA administers the Superfund program. A Superfund site is a property that has been contaminated by hazardous substances and identified by EPA as a candidate for federally-supported cleanup because the site poses a risk to human health or the environment. Once identified, sites are placed on the National Priorities List. There are 1,345 sites across the country on the National Priorities List, including 54 in Florida. The 31 sites recently placed on EPA’s redevelopment focus list represent approximately 2 percent of all 1,345 Superfund sites.
The Sanford site is a one-acre property located a half-mile south of Lake Monroe. It operated as a laundry and dry-cleaning facility from the 1940s until 2001. The former dry-cleaning site is located at 121 S. Palmetto Avenue. It is connected with common walls to 113 S. Palmetto, which was the historical county jail site, and 117 S. Palmetto. The city of Sanford sold 113 and 117 last year and these buildings are currently undergoing renovation under historical district guidelines and will soon be a restaurant and retail site. These buildings also share a common wall with the original Sanford Fire Station. Several commercial properties border the site, including a microbrewery, a restaurant, pottery and wine stores, and an art studio. Several residential properties are also located in the area.
EPA placed the Sanford site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in 2010 because of contaminated groundwater and soil resulting from past operations. According to EPA, site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. EPA, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Sanford City Commission, has implemented all actions necessary to ensure that local residents and the environment are safe from site contamination.