A federal program designed to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods is going to help people in the southeast Kansas community of Coffeyville get more physical activity.
The EPA has listed Coffeyville among 171 communities nationwide receiving $67-million this year through its Brownfields grant program.
Brownfields are abandoned industrial and commercial properties in need of environmental cleanup to spur redevelopment.
Mayor David George says $200,000 will be used to clean up an abandoned rail bed that runs through Coffeyville, and convert it to the city’s first hiking and biking trail.
“Oh, this is very important," says George. "We are thrilled to death to be able to get this and be able to do this project for the community. We see a lot of people wanting to walk, and no real place to do it. We think it’ll be a beautiful area to be able to walk.”
Part of the rail bed passes near the former site of a smelter, and is contaminated with cadmium, arsenic, and zinc. Another $400,000 in grants will be used for environmental assessments and planning for other sites in Coffeyville contaminated with hazardous waste and petroleum.
The EPA is also giving a million dollars to the Mo-Kan Regional Council. That money will help clean up hazardous waste and petroleum at sites in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri.