Tulsa hopes for EPA grant to convert contaminated building into useful project

The city of Tulsa is hoping a $350,000 grant it is seeking will be approved by the EPA to help convert a contaminated building near downtown into a place to help fledgling businesses grow. 

The City of Tulsa is applying for an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield grant to clean out its surplus auction building, according to News on 6.

The city wants to turn the building near Admiral and Utica into a business incubator. The abandoned building is called a Brownfield. That means it could pose environmental hazards if someone tries to redevelop it.

The City of Tulsa gets to choose one property a year to apply for EPA grants and hopefully get it cleaned up and transformed.

“There was a hazardous materials response to this in 2018 and at that time there was radiation detected,” said Michelle Barnett, Brownfields Program Manager and Deputy Chief of Economic Development.

Brownfields Program Manager Michelle Barnett said they also found lead based paint and asbestos. She said it used to be a headquarters for an oil company in the early 1900s.

“We would like it to be offices or a business incubator. It helps for economic innovation,” Barnett said.

Barnett asked for people in the community to share their thoughts on the cleanup and asked for opinions.

Attendee Nancy Moran said she’s excited to see the Brownfield transformation bring economic development.

“Helping to improve public health, cleaning up the air, and creating jobs in communities that have been left out,” said Moran.

Barnett said the BOK Center, Evans-Fintube site which will be the headquarters of USA BMX, and Air Force plant 3 at the Tulsa International Airport are current and past Brownfields.

“I’m waiting to see what happens,” said Moran. “The concept of nothing about us without us is important.”

The city is applying for a $350,000 grant for the EPA for the building next month. City leaders hope to know by next October if the city will be awarded the grant.

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Source:  News on 6