The city of Yakima will use a $200,000 state grant to help in assessing contamination at the former Boise Cascade Mill site.

The study is determining what cleanup at the site needs to be done to protect the environment and to bring new business and family-wage jobs to the community.

The city began the study this summer on the property at 805 N. 7th St. for brownfield redevelopment. It is expected to complete the work by the end of 2013 according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) which provided the grant.

Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused properties where there may be environmental contamination. Redevelopment efforts are often hindered by the liability for the cleanup or the uncertainty of cleanup costs.

The city is studying the extent and type of environmental contamination on the portion of the site where the plywood plant was located. The mill shut down in 2006 after operating for 103 years.

City of Yakima Strategic Project Manager Joan Davenport says, “The city appreciates the assistance of the Department of Ecology in funding the study by Landau Associates. The Mill Site Redevelopment Project is one of the city of Yakima’s highest economic development priorities. A key step toward kickstarting the redevelopment of the property was getting this assessment done. With the help of Ecology grant funding, the city is going to be able to do that and keep the project on track.”

Cleaning up and redeveloping a brownfield site can stimulate a community’s economy by returning a site to active use. That can increase jobs and the local tax base, mitigate public health and safety concerns and improve the community’s image.