The city of Dothan plans to pursue another Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program grant to help Aunt Katie’s Garden expand.
This week, the Dothan City Commission authorized Mayor Mark Saliba to execute the documents needed to apply for and obtain the grant, which helps rehabilitate properties that could potentially have environmental hazards in hopes of spurring economic development projects.
Aunt Katie’s Garden, which provides educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through growing vegetables and fruits, lies adjacent to an empty lot, and the garden’s executive director has expressed a desire to purchase the lot to expand the garden.
A previous EPA brownfields grant Dothan received led to an assessment that indicated the lot, which housed an old electrical substation, contained elevated levels of arsenic. City personnel fenced off the area at Whiddon and Linden streets to prevent any further exposure until it can be rehabilitated.
The new grant seeks up to $297,000 for cleanup efforts. City contractor PPM Consultants has recommended the excavation of the lot and the installation of protective barriers to remediate the issue, a city report says.
PPM also suggested Dothan officials could include a groundwater investigation to ensure runoff from the current property is not adversely affecting local streams.
If the grant is awarded, the city would have to match 20% of the total — $59,400 at most. The city can count in-kind services toward that amount.
City officials will hold a public meeting regarding the project at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Aunt Katie’s Garden. The meeting will allow residents to offer input on or ask questions about the initiative.
The garden is at 602 Linden St.