Urban Health Plan Latest Brownfield Cleanup Site

Contaminated vacant land once occupied by a dry cleaner stalling Urban Health Plan’s desire to construct a parking garage.

Urban Health Plan, a New York-based health provider for underserved communities, wants to build a multi-story parking garage at 1095 Southern Boulevard, on the same block as its current Bronx headquarters.

After performing an environmental analysis, Urban Health discovered that the site had subsurface soil and groundwater contamination.

In December 2010, they applied to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to make the site a part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and Urban Health Plan will now work with the DEC and a private contractor to make sure the property is safe for development

The DEC’s role in the cleanup is to make sure the proper protocol is followed and government standards are met.

“They have to monitor the cleanup,” said Ivy Fairchild, chief development officer for Urban Health Plan.“There is a specific criteria that has to be followed when you clean up hazardous waste.”

Urban Health Plan is working to develop a plan of how to clean up the site that can take up to six months, and once the Department of Environmental Conservation signs off on it, Urban Health Plan will hire a private contractor to begin remediation.

Fairchild said the cost of the cleanup, a “conservative” estimate for the cost of the remediation, is anywhere between $250,000 and $500,000. Urban Health Plan will lobby elected officials, corporations, foundations and donors for financial assistance.

Urban Health Plan has constructed a fence around the site and has hired a Brooklyn-based HydroTech Environmental to do the initial contaminant assessment.

The land was once home to a dry cleaner and contaminants that are often associated with the dry cleaning process were found at the site

“The property has been used for a variety of commercial purposes in the past,” said Thomas Panzone of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “Most recently as a dry cleaner. The previous on-site building was destroyed by a fire in 2008 and the property has since been vacant.”

Urban Health Plan wants to use the site for medical offices. But for now it will be a parking lot, as the company focuses on expanding offices at its existing Bronx location, just a few feet away.

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